Cheers! Alcohol Sales Up in PA According to PLCB Annual Report

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) released its Fiscal Year 2021-22 Annual Report, which details agency operations, sales trends, popular products, and financial results.

The annual report reviews the agency’s financials and provides insight into functions including store operations, licensing, marketing and merchandising, supply chain, wholesale operations, information technology, alcohol education, and personnel. The document is filled with statistics and information about how the agency works and where the money it generates goes.

The annual report also showcases sales by product category, individual products, counties,
e-commerce, stores, and sales periods. For example:

  • Vodka, whiskey, tequila and ready-to-drink spirits topped the list of product categories with the highest year-over-year dollar gains with increases ranging from 2.6% to 63.8% across categories.
  • Retail dollar sales of $2.12 billion – though a decrease of 3.4% over the prior year – illustrate a return to “near normal” pre-pandemic purchasing patterns, with retail comprising approximately 75% of total agency dollar sales and licensee sales of $704.2 million accounting for the remainder.
  • E-commerce sales in fiscal year 2021-22 totaled $13.5 million, a 19.2% decrease in dollar sales compared to the prior year. Though decreased since fiscal year 2019-20, when experienced unprecedented growth due to COVID-19 and the temporary closure of FW&GS stores, e-commerce dollar sales and transactions remain elevated over pre-pandemic year-over-year growth rates, with sales for 2021-22 up 171.9% and transactions up 160.4% as compared to 2018-19.
  • Unflavored vodka was the top spirits category in 52 counties, while the remaining 15 counties had American whiskey as the top spirits category.
  • California cabernet sauvignon was the top wine category in 34 counties, while another 24 counties had box red wine as the top wine category; California chardonnay followed in six counties, and beverage wine followed in three.
  • The top three counties – Allegheny, Philadelphia, and Montgomery – accounted for 35% of statewide sales.

Additional highlights of the 2021-22 Annual Report include:

  • A one-page summary showing distribution of PLCB funds to various recipients. More than $839.3 million was distributed to the Pennsylvania General Fund and state and local government beneficiaries in fiscal year 2021-22.
  • A summary of Fine Wine & Good Spirits (FW&GS) store operations, including the launch of READY, a new customer service model focused on elevating the in-store shopping experience for customers, as well as a loss prevention campaign to proactively address loss in FW&GS stores while prioritizing safety.
  • An overview of the consolidation of the PLCB’s network of distribution centers supplying FW&GS stores and licensees, providing greater efficiency, cost savings, and reach.
  • Information about a new option for direct delivery of Special Orders (SOs) by suppliers to licensees.
  • Information on permits issued and sales to holders of wine expanded permits, which authorize the sale of wine to go by private retailers.
  • A breakdown of more than 87,000 liquor license and permit applications processed and more than 9,200 investigations completed, as well as a breakout of licenses by county.
  • A summary of alcohol education efforts to reduce and prevent dangerous and underage drinking, including highlights from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Needs Assessment – a collaboration between the PLCB and the Commonwealth Prevention Alliance to inform and counter the negative effects of student alcohol use on campus – and the award-winning Know When. Know How.SM campaign.
  • Sales information and trends by product and category, including top-selling spirits and wines by county.
  • Store-by-store sales and a section dedicated to sales of Pennsylvania-made wines and spirits in FW&GS stores.
  • A list of recipients of $1.9 million in PLCB grants that support Pennsylvania’s wine and beer industries.