The state saw a surge in alcohol sales in the past fiscal year that ended in June. The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) has just released its report on sales, and spokesman Robert Bailey talks about the numbers.
“We saw pretty significant growth — 5.4 percent in gross revenue — which is pretty good. Most of that is in alcohol sales,” Bailey says.
Liquor sales hit a record high of 277 million dollars, more than 14 million above the previous record. Other income from taxes and fees put the total revenue at more than 319 million dollars. Bailey says Black Velvet was against the top selling alcohol for the A-D-B and the whiskey category increased its sales by 3.2 percent.
“Whiskey overtook vodka as the top selling distilled spirit. Captain Morgan came in second, Hawkeye Vodka was third, Fireball cinnamon whiskey was fourth,” according to Bailey. Five O’Clock Vodka rounded out the top five.
There where just a little over 1.4 million gallons of whiskey sold, to outdistance the sale of vodka by about 51,000 gallons. Flavors helped push up vodka sales and it appears flavored whiskeys may’ve done the same. Bailey says cinnamon whiskies are popular. Bailey says he’s not sure when cinnamon whiskey hit the market, but almost every distiller has a cinnamon flavored whiskey now.
The ABD turned over $128 million to the state for the fiscal year. “A 104 million goes directly into the general fund, a big chunk of that goes to the Department of Public Health for prevention and abuse programs. And then money is returned to cities and counties for license fees. A little over 300,000 goes to the Department of Economic Development for training for local wine and beer producers,” Bailey explains.
The first quarter of the new fiscal year has already passed and Bailey says sales appear to be holding strong. “Things look pretty good, it’s pretty early to tell, but its trending similarly to last year,” Bailey says. “I’d say we are up a few percentage points over this time last year. But it’s way too early in the fiscal year to really get a good gauge of it.” Bailey says they are entering a time of year where there are good sales.
“Holiday periods are busy, Christmas is definitely busy, but summer is also quite busy because a lot more people are out. The hot areas like the lakes region, they do a lot more business during the summer and the tourist season,” Bailey says. The number of gallons of beer consumed dropped by eight-tenths of one percent, and the gallons of wine sold increase by 6.7 percent.
The report says there were 2.3 gallons of spirits, 2.5 gallons of wine and 34.16 gallons of beer sold per person in Iowa.