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The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) was created by state law on Nov. 29, 1933, at the end of Prohibition. Seventeen states (including Pennsylvania) and jurisdictions in Alaska, Maryland, Minnesota, and South Dakota control the sale of distilled spirits and, in some cases, wine and beer through government agencies at the wholesale level. Thirteen of those jurisdictions (including Pennsylvania) also exercise control over retail sales for off-premises consumption. The agency is governed by a three-member Board whose members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by two-thirds of the state Senate.

The PLCB serves as the commonwealth’s responsible seller of wines and spirits, regulates Pennsylvania’s beverage alcohol industry, and promotes social responsibility and alcohol education, while maximizing financial returns for the benefit of all Pennsylvanians. The PLCB regulates the manufacture, importation, sale, distribution and disposition of liquor, alcohol, and malt or brewed beverages in the commonwealth. The agency issues licenses to private individuals or entities that wish to engage in wholesale operations of beer, either as an importing distributor or as a distributor. The agency is also responsible for wholesale operations of wine and spirits, which licensees may pick up from state-operated Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores or licensee service centers or have delivered from PLCB distribution centers.

The PLCB operates 904,000 square feet of warehouse space, the equivalent of 19 football fields, contracted with three privately held Pennsylvania distribution center companies. In fiscal year 2016-17, almost 17 million cases were shipped from these distribution centers.

More than 600 Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores, including more than 90 Premium Collection stores and 10 licensee service centers, are leased from private landlords, infusing more than $49.5 million into the Pennsylvania economy. Nearly 94,000 wines and spirits are available at Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores, through the PLCB eCommerce website, and via Special Order.

The PLCB's Bureau of Alcohol Education provides a comprehensive program to prevent underage and dangerous drinking, including:
  • Alcohol Education grants to reduce underage and dangerous drinking totaling more than $1 million each year, which are awarded to local partners in alcohol deterrence efforts;
  • An annual conference drawing hundreds of experts and participants to discuss alcohol education issues;
  • An annual poster contest for children in kindergarten through 12th grade;
  • The distribution of educational materials, either by request or by exhibiting at and participating in health fairs, conferences, and similar programs;
  • An award-winning training program for resident assistants on college campuses; and
  • Partnership-building with communities and organizations across Pennsylvania committed to the prevention of alcohol misuse and underage drinking.

The PLCB's Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP) training assists licensees with identifying fraudulent IDs, preventing to sales to minors, recognizing and handling visibly intoxicated patrons, and understanding liability issues. In fiscal year 2016-17, 5,761 owners and managers and 67,780 servers and sellers have been trained through RAMP.

As of June 30, 2017, there were 5,424 employees at the agency. Women represent 47 percent of the workforce, and minorities represent 24 percent. Of those employees, 2,406 are full-time store employees, 1,693 are part-time store employees, and 580 are seasonal employees.

Where the Money Goes

Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores generated more than $2.53 billion in sales and taxes in fiscal year 2016-17.

Together, more than $764.7 million was returned to the General Fund and state and local government beneficiaries in fiscal year 2016-17.

  • The PLCB returned $720.6 million to the General Fund:
        • $361.9 million in liquor tax
        • $142 million in state sales tax
        • $216.7 million transferred to the General Fund
  • The Pennsylvania State Police received $28.1 million for the enforcement of liquor laws.
  • The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs received $2.5 million to educate and prevent problem alcohol use.
  • Philadelphia and Allegheny counties received $9.1 million in local sales taxes.
  • Local communities received $4.5 million in returned licensing fees.

In the last five years, the PLCB has provided:

  • More than $2.89 billion to the Pennsylvania General Fund
  • $128.9 million to the Pennsylvania State Police
  • $12.5 million to the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs
  • $22.3 million to local communities