The head of the state’s liquor sales says the economy could be starting to show its impact on the booze business. Alcoholic Beverages Division Administrator, Lynn Walding, says liquor sales have been on a record pace since the new state fiscal year that started in July.
Walding says sales have been up almost 16% in terms of revenue, and 12.5% in volume. But in November, he says sales "seemed to be slowing slightly." Walding says history has shown that alcohol sales usually don’t suffer in an economic downturn.
Walding says the industry seems to be somewhat recession proof. He says one thing that may happen is that people will stay home and drink alcohol instead of going out. Walding says the consumption levels haven’t gone down, except for the last couple of weeks, and he says that may be people waiting for holiday promotions before buying.
Walding says it’ll take a little more time to determine if there’s a downward sales trend. "What happens here in the coming week and the weeks between then and the New Year will be pretty indicative of what the market is really doing," Walding says. The new fiscal year started out with what Walding called a post-flood rebound in sales.
Walding says May and June were the weakest two months of the last fiscal year, and people finally had an opportunity to do some shopping in July. He says some 50 alcohol retailers were shut down in June and that had an impact, and was part of the reason for the increase. Walding says if sales aren’t on a downward trend, it could be a record year.
Walding says the state sold 188-million dollars in wholesale spirits, and so far this year, they’re up eight million dollars in sales. He says if the that trend continues, they could break the 200-million dollar barrier in sales for the first time. Walding says 200-million dollars in sales would equate to about 90-million dollars in profit being turned over to the state.