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Facing Higher Costs, PLCB Weighs An Increase In Spirits And Wine Markups

August 14, 2014

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) is internally discussing raising the rate of its markup on spirits and wine from 30% to 35% to cover rising costs, according to the Associated Press. PLCB finance director August Hehemann floated the plan in an internal memo, the news agency said.

Hehemann proposed the change to the standard markup—which hasn’t been raised since 1993—because PLCB net income is expected to decline this fiscal year (ending next June) to $96 million from $121 million the previous year, owing to rising pension and health care costs and technology upgrades. PLCB chairman Joseph Brion told the AP there’s no formal proposal before the board and that he considers such a move an option of last resort. “At this point in time, it’s not a viable option,” Brion said.

Pennsylvania lawmakers have been battling in recent years over whether to privatize spirits and wine sales in the state—the largest control market for both categories in the U.S.—or simply continue modernizing the current system, and effectively remain at a stalemate.

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