Get a Wine Job at the PLCB

Posted by Keith Wallace

 Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board

A Job Guide for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB)

Before showing you how to get a job working for the PLCB, you should ask yourself a question: is working for PA’s wine monopoly for me? Working for the PLCB is an excellent way to get into the wine trade for some people. For others, it would be a nightmare. Here are some of the pros and cons of working for the state’s booze monopoly.


  1. Stable Employment. In Pennsylvania, working in a wine shop is a state civil service job. Nothing says stability than working for the state government, even when folks like us try to abolish the PLCB.
  2. Health Care. As a state employee, you get excellent health coverage.

3. Life Insurance.  Sure, why not?  Just make me the beneficiary, okay?

4. Pension Plan. A retirement plan? Who gets a pension in the 21st century? That is crazy.

  1. Paid Leave. Wow, just like in Corporate America.


  1. Monotony. Be prepared for endless hours directing people to sparkling cinnamon malbec and sweet jelly whiskey or whatever the dumb kids are drinking today.
  2. Endless Bureaucracy. You work for the PLCB, a government agency, for Pete’s sake. Did you expect unicorns and rainbows?
  3. Lack of Independence. You will not get to choose what store you will work at.

4. Limited Input on Wine Selection. A wine buyer in Harrisburg chooses most of the wines in the shop. Not the shop’s wine manager.

5. Manual Labor. Someone has to haul cases of booze and clean the gross toilets. Guess who?

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB): Jobs & Pay Scales

There are nine pay scale levels for each position based on union-negotiated terms. New employees typically begin at the lowest level and work their way up based on seniority. However, managers can hire above that minimum when qualified applicants are challenging to recruit.

Retail Positions

Seasonal Liquor Store Clerks

A seasonal job for the summer and winter holidays. The position includes stocking products and working cash registers and generally doesn’t require a lick of wine knowledge. This is the only PLCB job that does not require a test before hiring. This is a temporary job that doesn’t come with any worthwhile benefits. The hourly pay is currently between $11 and $13 per hour. These are union jobs under the UFCW.

Intermittent Liquor Store Sales Cashier  (LS01)

A part-time position for someone who works the cash register. Hours can range from 13-32 hours per week, and pay for this PLCB position is currently pegged at $16/hour. Applicants must take the Civil Service exam and be 18 years of age.  Benefits kick in after two years of employment.

Intermittent Liquor Store Clerk (LS02 )

This is a part-time position. Hours can range from 13 to 32 per week, with at least four hours each workday. This job isn’t attached to a specific wine shop. You may be called upon to work in multiple shops in your county. Along with your scheduled hours, you will be on-call to cover shifts.  Pay for this PLCB position starts at $11/hour and tops out at $20. Applicants must take the Civil Service exam and be 18 years of age.   Benefits kick in after two years of employment.

This isn’t a great job on the surface,  but it is where most PLCB employees begin. After a half year of employment, part-time PLCB employees are eligible for full-time positions. It may take longer to gain a full-time job.  Sadly, the PLCB is not a meritocracy: vacancies are filled by seniority, not competency. There are about 400 positions filled each year.

Liquor Store Clerk 1 (LS02 )

About 100 of these positions are filled every year. Applicants must take the Civil Service exam and be 18 years of age. When hired, you will be assigned to a specific store in the PA county of your choice, but you won’t get to choose which store (in Philly, that can mean you could end up at a store on the other side of the city, or in a rough hood).  Pay for this PLCB job starts at $11/hour and tops out at $20/hour; Benefits kick in immediately.

With all retail wine jobs, you will be expected to wear many hats: run the cash register, stock shelves, unload wine shipments, do general maintenance, and do custodial work.

Liquor Store Clerk 2 (LS07)

This position is for a shift manager at a PLCB wine shop. More of an “assistant to the manager” than an “assistant manager” position since you still have all the clerk’s responsibilities and none of the benefits of being a manager.   To quality, you must have worked for the PLCB for at least a year.  Pay for this PLCB position starts at $13/hour and tops out at $22/hour.  This involves an additional test, which is held once a year. The test is typically announced in late winter, with applications accepted until the end of summer.

Retail Wine Specialist (LS04)

This is the prime position in the retail sphere of the PLCB.  There is a single Retail Wine Specialist position at each Wine & Spirits Premium Collection shop.  The specialist manages the “premium wine” section of the wine shop.  This includes running inventory, projecting performance, and wine orders.  To be sure, a massive chunk of the job is to make recommendations wines to customers—a novel idea in the PLCB system. There is also a teaching component to the gig and merchandising. Oh, the pleasures of retail wine sales. Only a handful of these positions open up every year.  Pay for this PLCB position starts at $19/hour and tops out at $27/hour.

Unlike clerk positions, one doesn’t have to start at the bottom of the PLCB bucket.  This job requires four years of wholesale or retail experience in the wine trade. In addition, the employee must complete the PLCB’s Advanced Level Wine Education program within a half year of employment. FYI, that is easier than the Wine School’s Advanced Wine Program.

For an overview of wine courses (including sommelier programs) available in Pennsylvania, please review this website: SOMM.

PLCB Management Jobs

Liquor Store Manager

Assist in directing the operation of state-owned Wine and Spirits Stores.  You will be responsible for supervising a shift of Liquor Store Clerks and Cashiers.  You will ensure that store employees render prompt and courteous service to customers and that they accurately maintain detailed cash and stock-keeping records.  A Liquor Store Manager’s primary responsibility is supervising store activities which include training subordinate store employees.  However, you may be required to perform other duties related to receiving, selling, and accounting for merchandise occasionally.

Requirements: two years of employment at the PLCB. Salary: $32K -$54K

Liquor Store General Manager

Supervise, manage and direct activities in state-owned Wine and Spirits Stores. You will implement and apply policy and procedure to store operations, assign and evaluate work, and promote good customer relations. General Managers are accountable for the entire store operation, including sales, store maintenance, merchandise, cash accounting, maintenance of records, and all related functions.

Requirements: two years of employment at the PLCB. Salary: $32K -$55K.

Applying for a Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) Job

Seasonal Liquor Store Clerks

Seasonal jobs are available from June to August and from November to December. They are the easiest of the PLCB jobs to apply for. Download the PDF application via the PLCB website.    It’s suggested you email the application to  [email protected]. You can also mail the application:

PA Liquor Control Board Recruitment & Placement Section Room 407 Northwest Office Building Capital & Forster Streets Harrisburg, PA 17124

Applying for all other Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) Jobs

1. The first step is to create an account with the Pennsylvania Civil Service Commission.

2. Log into and go to the “Main Menu” in your account.

3. Select “View Open Jobs & Apply.

4.  You are now on a page that lists every available civil service position in Pennsylvania. PLCB jobs will have “Liquor” or “Wine” in the titles.

5.  To apply for a job with the PLCB, you will need to take a specific civil service exam. This page allows you to apply for the job and schedule the necessary exam.

6. When you find the job you are qualified for, click on the “Test Announcement Number.”

7. You will be shown a page with all the job details in question. Read through them carefully, then select “next page.”

8. You may see a page titled “Job Class List.” If so, select all the job titles that apply, and select “next page.”

9. Next is a series of  Question & Answer pages. Select the appropriate answers on each page. These questions include residency requirements, your job requirements, which counties you will be willing to work in, your driver’s license, race, dob, and education level.

10. Send it in! Once you have submitted your resume, click submit. Once your application has been verified, you will be scheduled to take the civil service exam. Good luck!

19 thoughts on “Get a Wine Job at the PLCB”

  1. Where is the training class in penn hills one of my kids misplaced my paper work and I got class that start tomorrow someone help please

  2. Our union gave up step increases. Topping out at 20 an hour is long gone. They also gave up all holidays other than Christmas Easter and thanksgiving. Expect to be stuck working all others!

  3. I do not know where you retrieved your information about the pay rates, among other issues, but your inaccurate. For instance, a clerk one/ assistant manager can and does make as low as 13 plus an hour depending on seniority at the time of their promotion. Telling ppl that intermittent clerks make 16 an hour is why we get criticised as over paid clerks. In my 10 yrs in the PLCB I have yet to work with any part time employee that makes with-in 3 dollars of that. Starting rate is 11.87 an hour and your lucky to reach 14 dollars dollars in 5 yrs of that. The managers, which I am, also do all job functions, including running a register daily, mopping floors, and cleaning toilets. Maybe in the bigger cities this is different but the majority of the stores are elsewhere considering the size of our beautiful state.

  4. I found this extremely educational and helpful. Great intro into the structure of employment in LCB.
    Do you find jobs are filled with people already in LCB employment?

    • Current employees may find out about the jobs available faster, and some positions are typically filled by people who have worked at the PLCB for a set amount of years: a wine specialist, for instance.

      However, most jobs at the PLCB are available equally to all who apply.

  5. Might you be able to give any tips or advice as to what could be on the exam?
    I’ve just applied for the Intermittent Liquor Store Clerk and Liquor Store Clerk 1 positions. I see a few categories on the Civil Service Announcement page and the only one I may have trouble with is “Merchandise Selection”…
    Thank you, I really appreciate it!

    • Well, this is pretty much covered in Level 3 classes (aka Intermediate Global) but also in books like the Oxford Guide. It would be hard for someone without training, but a piece of cake for someone with basic wine education.

    • Thank you for noticing that we are one of the best wine schools in the country, attended by many of your compatriots at the PLCB.

      If you noticed any spelling issues, by all means let us know.

  6. seems like you resent steady paying jobs with benefits. you seem 12 when you write, “…just like corporate America”…and who employs people? poor, lazy individuals that sell jewelry at craft shows? your a lib i’m sure, and i bet you don’t even know that this plcb stuff is your favorite workforce. in case ya didn’t know…it’s a union job, dude/babe. oh no i dihn’t! snap! oh hellz yeah…or whatever you school kids say.

    • Not sure why comparing the PLCB to corporate America makes you think that I resent steady paying jobs. I wrote an entire article on how to gain employment at the PLCB,so It stands to reason that I encourage our students to work at the PLCB, which some of them do.


Leave a Comment

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00