The alcohol continues flowing at a brisk pace in Iowa. The director of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, Lynn Walding, says alcohol sales are moving along at a pace that could top last year’s 10-percent increase. He says this year’s liquor sales are exceeding last year’s by over 12-percent — and he says a lot of the gain is coming from flavored vodkas. Walding says wine sales are up eight percent — but sales of suds have suffered. He says the only catergory that’s down is beer – which is down about one percent. He says there’s a lot of speculation in the industry that beer’s loss has been liquor’s gain, and he says the numbers in Iowa support that. While more expensive liquor is being sold, Walding doesn’t think that has anything to do with the economy of the state. He says liquor sales have been up in good and bad economic times and he thinks the business is recession proof. He says it has more to do with emotional values rather and economic values. Walding says the recent nesting feelings people have had following the 9-11 attacks contribute to increased sales. He says as people stay at home and use Iowa as a regional tourism destination, sales have risen. He says the Okoboji region is always a leader in sales and he attributes that to all the tourism in the area. Walding says this remains the busiest time of the year for alcohol sales. He says it’s not like it used to be where this is the predominant time of the year. And he says they don’t seem to get the slowdown in late January and February that they used to get. He says sales at other times of the year have picked up. The fiscal year for the department runs through July, so Walding says it’s not guaranteed the increase in sales will hold.He says if he were betting, he would bet the trend would continue. He says if it does continue, then they’ll do more than 140-million dollars in wholesale sales. Liquour sales in the state generated just over 48 million dollars in net profit for the state in the last fiscal year.
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