PLCB’s revenue surpasses $3 billion for the first time

Nov. 27 – The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has surpassed $3 billion in combined sales for the first time in the agency’s history — with vodka and bourbon leading the way.

Revenue of $3.02 billion for fiscal 2021-22 represents an increase of $109.9 million, or 3.8%, year-over-year, according to PLCB’s annual report.

Net income for the year, according to the report, was a record $330.9 million, up $66 million or 24.9% year over year.

While retail sales fell 3.4% to $2.12 billion from 2020 to 2021, PLCB press secretary Shawn Kelly said it’s unclear if that decline will continue.

“There was a small drop in retail sales, but we saw licensee sales increase throughout the year,” Kelly said. “It seems people have just switched from drinking to drinking, but it’s a little too early to tell if this is a long-term trend or a one-off trend due to the COVID pandemic.”

The retail store at South Abington Twp. had the most on-site sales for the year, grossing $11,222,504, up $61,025 from the previous year.

The agency reported a 19.2% decline in e-commerce sales from 2020-21, as online sales experienced unprecedented growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic and temporary liquor store closures. However, sales in 2021-22 rose 171.9% from pre-pandemic levels in 2018-19.

READY – a new training program launched earlier this year aimed at helping retail workers better interact with customers – was a hit with consumers and was recognized as a Best Retail Innovation award by StateWays Magazine.

“We’ve had a lot of compliments on the initiative,” Kelly said. “We’re proud to improve our customer service capabilities and want to ensure our customers have the best possible experience in our stores.”

The agency distributed $839 million to the state’s general fund and to state and local government beneficiaries in 2021-22.

“Every year, millions in royalties flow back to municipalities,” Kelly said. “The money goes to many different places. In recent years, we’ve seen more go into beer and wine research in Pennsylvania, awarding approximately $1 million annually in grants that help local producers determine how best to grow hops in specific hops parts of the state. Our mission has expanded in recent years in terms of funding these programs, but we know Pennsylvania producers are an important part of our economy.”

The LCB also provided $6.6 million to the State Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs to provide education and prevent problem alcohol use.

Alcohol use and addictive behaviors have increased in recent years in tandem with the COVID-19 pandemic, said Julianne Marianelli, MSN, CRNP, FNP-BC, Geisinger Addiction Medicine.

“As far as I can see, the pandemic has triggered both new addictive behaviors and pre-existing behaviors, such as when people relapse,” she said. “An increase in alcohol consumption may increase mortality rates in our state from alcohol-related liver disease, liver failure and liver cancer.”

Marianelli said Geisinger has proven methods for helping people struggling with an alcohol use disorder.

“We definitely recommend psychotherapy for most of our patients,” she said. “We offer a full resource listing of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings as well as family meetings and inpatient detox and rehabilitation services.

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