Online wine, liquor sales up nearly six-fold due to pandemic, Pa. says

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Online earnings from the sale of wine and liquor in Pennsylvania increased nearly six-fold this year compared to last, mostly due to a spike in online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.

“In the previous fiscal year, we did about 135,000 units, or $5 million,” in e-commerce sales, said Shawn Kelly, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. “This last fiscal year, we’ve done 1.3 million units for almost $27 million.”

That’s a 436.9% increase in dollar sales and an 851.9% increase in unit sales over the prior year’s online sales.

Kelly said during the early stages of the pandemic — and for the first time ever — all operations in stores, online, and for licensees were suspended until a safe plan could be figured out.

“The annual report shows that our sales lagged year over year in March and April and going into the end of the fiscal year in June, but since then, we’ve recovered,” he said.

According to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s recently released annual report, the top-ranking counties by dollar sales — which accounted for almost 35% of statewide sales — were Allegheny, Philadelphia, and Montgomery counties.

Box wine sales increased by 3.6%, mainly because “holders of wine expanded permits … to buy box wines from the PLCB (and subsequently sell at retail)” while Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores were closed, according to the report.

The top products sold in Pennsylvania overall were Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Apothic Red Wine and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which was No. 1 online.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Rachel Kurland/KYW Newsradio