In the central amygdala (CeA), ethanol acts via corticotrophin-releasing factor (CRF) type 1 receptors to enhance GABA release. Amygdala CRF mediates anxiety associated with stress and drug dependence, and it regulates ethanol intake. Because mutant mice that lack PKCepsilon exhibit reduced anxiety-like behavior and alcohol consumption, we investigated whether PKCepsilon lies downstream of CRF(1) receptors in the CeA. Compared with PKCepsilon(+/+) CeA neurons, PKCepsilon(-/-) neurons showed increased GABAergic tone due to enhanced GABA release. CRF and ethanol stimulated GABA release in the PKCepsilon(+/+) CeA, but not in the PKCepsilon(-/-) CeA. A PKCepsilon-specific inhibitor blocked both CRF- and ethanol-induced GABA release in the PKCepsilon(+/+) CeA, confirming findings in the PKCepsilon(-/-) CeA. These results identify a PKCepsilon signaling pathway in the CeA that is activated by CRF(1) receptor stimulation, mediates GABA release at nerve terminals, and regulates anxiety and alcohol consumption.