State figures show the liquor continues flowing in Iowa, but at a slightly slower pace through the holiday season this year. Lynn Walding oversees the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division , and says a year ago the state saw sales that were up 11% over the previous year, while this year’s sales thus far are up about 6% and still on pace for a record.
The sales are tracked based on the state’s fiscal year that began in July. The state made a profit of just over 54-million dollars in liquor sales last year, and turned over a total of profit, taxes and fees of over 84-million to the state.
Walding says some of the economic impacts of higher gas prices and the mortgage crisis may be reflected in the slightly lower sales paces. He says there is some "inflation resistance in the spirits industry" where consumers might be backing off the more expensive liquor and switching to the less expensive beer.
Walding says beer has followed a nationwide trend that saw sales up. Walding says beer sales are up a little over 3% after a several years of no growth. Wine sales are up four percent, and "spirits" are up six percent. He says the three-percent increase in beer volume is a "huge change." Walding says younger drinkers continue to purchase some of the more expensive liquors.
Walding says,"There is still a bit of premiumization that continues in the market place as the sales figures exceed the inflationary rated." He says the outside influence of the Iowa Caucuses might to a degree be driving some of the sales of the premium liquors, but overall Walding says Black Velvet remains the top seller and Captain Morgan rum is number two.