State alcohol sales set a record in the fiscal year that ended June 30th — continuing what has been a slow trend upward — even through the economic slow down. Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) spokesperson, Tonya Dusold, told Radio Iowa earlier this year projections showed a record pace for sales, and now that’s confirmed. “We came in at about 256-million (dollars) which represents about a 5.6-percent increase over the previous fiscal year,” Dusold says.

The types of liquor being purchased stayed similar to past years. “With vodka having about a quarter of the market share, being up four-percent. Something interesting that we’re seeing this year is the flavored vodka category -which has been up year over year — dropped this year about five percent,” Dusold says. “It still does represent about five percent of the total market, but what we’re seeing is those flavored spirits categories seep into the more of the whiskeys and bourbons rather than vodka.”

The flavored liquor sales continue to cut into beer sales. “Wine sales this last fiscal year were up 6.1-percent and beer sales continued to trend downward — being down almost six percent,” according to Dusold. “What we’re seeing is people migrating over from beer into the wine and spirits categories,”Dusold says. She says home brewing has also cut into state beer sales.

Beer overall remains the most popular alcoholic drink  when you look at the amount sold. “The average Iowan of legal drinking age consumes about 2.27 gallons of spirits, 2.03 gallons of wine, and beer is still by far — even though it is down — the most consumed alcohol by Iowans, coming in at 33-and-a-half gallons per individual of legal drinking age,” according to Dusold.

The agency generated a record $119.5-million in revenue from the increased sales last year. Dusold believes alcohol sales may eventually slow. “We do expect it to start to level off, for the first quarter of the current fiscal year were are up a little bit, but not nearly as much as we have been over the last few of years. We are up over two-percent for this quarter,” Dusold says.

She says they’ve made some changes in their infrastructure to meet the changing demand. That includes racking in the warehouse to allow them to increase the variety of products they stock. “As innovation in the industry expands, consumers hear about those things and create a demand for them,” Dusold explains. The state became the exclusive wholesaler of alcohol in the state in 1988. You can see the ABD’s full yearly report at: IowaABD.com.