Inflation Hits the Bottle: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Raising Prices on 3,500 Wine and Liquor Products

Shelves display bottles of wines for sale at a Pennsylvania fine wine and spirits store, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Harmony, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

By Ashley Adams

January 12, 2023

Beginning Sunday, the PLCB is raising the price on thousands of its best-selling liquors and wines, the first time spirits have increased in cost since 2019. 

The rise in prices for everything, from gas to eggs, could drive anyone to drink — and now those prices are increasing too.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board recently announced that it’s raising the price of more than 3,500 of its best-selling products by 4% effective Sunday. Both wholesale and retail prices are increasing, so you can expect to pay more, whether you’re ordering a cocktail at your local bar, picking up a bottle of wine from your supermarket’s liquor section, or shopping at one of the nearly 600 Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores across the state operated by the PLCB 

The decision to increase prices was made by the board chairman and agreed upon by members last month. It is the first time since 2019 that the PLCB has opted to increase prices. The PLCB chalked up the increase to a combination of inflation, operating costs, and funding initiatives like state drug and alcohol programs. 

“These increases will allow the PLCB to generate revenues needed to offset annual 8% increases in operating costs over the last four years, plus projected cost increases in the current year, related to personnel, distribution, leases and credit card fees, among others,” PLCB said in a statement. 

Top-selling liquor brands, including Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Jack Daniel’s, Jameson Irish Whiskey, and Maker’s Mark, and wines, including Yellow Tail, Woodbridge, and Sutter Home, will see price increases.

There are still thousands of items not subject to the increase, such as:

  • 5,600 seasonal and luxury items
  • 2,700 clearance items
  • 100 PA Proud items
  • All special order products

According to financial documents from the PLCB, liquor sales were down in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdowns at bars and restaurants. Sales rebounded in 2021 as more bars and restaurants were open.

There was a record $3.017 billion in sales in the 2021-22 fiscal year, the first time sales topped $3 billion.

In the 2022 fiscal year, the agency reported a record net income of $330.9 million after decreasing operating costs and long-term liabilities.

Taxes and store profits from the agency go into the state’s General Fund.

Author

  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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