5 Liquor-Laced Facts About the PLCB

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board regulates what spirits we drink and takes in a lot of money. Here are some facts about who takes your money and where it goes.

Gov. Tom Corbett on Wednesday presented a plan to privatize Pennsylvania's liquor stores, which have been on a short leash held by the state since...forever.

The conversation among legislators, Corbett and the state's liquor-governing agency, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, in the coming months will be interesting to be sure. But here are five facts you may not know about the people who stock our liquor stores:

1. There are 605 liquor stores in Pennsylvania: 504 self-service stores, 72 premium collection stores, 19 one-stop stores, nine wholesale stores and one e-commerce store. Of those, 159 are open on Sunday.

2. There is an 18 percent tax on every bottle of wine and liquor sold in Pennsylvania that is referred to as the "Johnstown Flood Tax" originally imposed in 1936 to pay for the damage imposed by the Johnstown Flood. It has never been repealed and has, in total, collected more than $15 billion that now goes into state coffers.

3. When you buy a $10 bottle of wine, $5.50 goes for the wine and federal taxes; $1.50 goes to store, warehouse and transportation costs; 40 cents goes to administrative, alcohol education, licensing and litigation funding; 10 cents goes to billings from other Commonwealth agencies such as Civil Service Commission, comptroller and payroll, Department of the Auditor General and more; 10 cents goes to contributions to other agencies such as license fees returned to local municipalities, state police liquor enforcement and the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs; 60 cents goes to state and local taxes; $1.40 goes to the 18 percent liquor tax (the Johnstown Flood Tax), and 40 cents transfers to the general fund.

4. The PLCB has about 4,439 employees, excluding its seasonal workforce.  Most of those employees work in stores.

5. PA Wine & Spirits stores generated approximately $2.1 billion in revenue in 2011-12.

Sources: PLCB and The Johnstown Flood Tax

Kate Bartholomew Ruch January 31, 2013 at 07:00 PM
Clearly any profit that the state makes from the sale of liquor would be better placed in the hands of those individuals wealthy enough to puchase said liquor stores/licences... and Governor Corbett knows it and has friends that would like to make such a purchase. Greasy, greasy palms.
Albert Brooks January 31, 2013 at 07:26 PM
You forgot one: The PLCB is run by people with no experience in a billion dollar business. I really don't count the CEO's failed restaurant.
JohnRz February 01, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Privatization=Theft Moderization=$Revenue$
Corinne Purcell February 05, 2013 at 12:50 AM
I don't get it. Granted I lived in CA for almost 40 yrs. (don't ask), but the PLCB is not in business to satisfy customers (quite obvious). They in no way bring the best deals to us. I'm beginning to think that they diliberately do not offer good wines at a good price. With their buying power, (for gosh sakes it a state, not Costco), they should be doing a lot better for their customers. They somehow manage to keep prices too high on mediocre wines and therefore reap a profit. Shame on them. Don't waste anymore money on modernizing stores, etc. Still doesn't change the price inequality. Please, Pennsylvanians, come into the 21st century, at least as regards the PLCB. At least Utah has an excuse, but what's ours? The time for talk is o-o-over (at long last). Come on, Corbett, do what you said you'd do! I am not unaware to the jobs involved here (I do believe in unions), but don't be your own worst enemy, those jobs will be absorbed and more created when the sale of wine, liquor, and beer is privatized. Everyone will benefit.


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