A report from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) shows sales of all types of alcohol increased by four percent in the fiscal year that ended in July.

ABD spokesman Robert Bailey says liquor sales were just shy of $289 million. “Sales of spirits rose slightly. So we think that that is probably because millennials are turning away from beer a little bit and turning to spirits,” Bailey says.

The dollar amount of beer sold was down, but gallon amount of beer sold was up slightly to 75.3 million gallons. The gallons sold of Iowa produced wine went up 18.6 percent, while the gallons sold of other wines dropped more than three percent. Bailey says it appears Iowans are gaining more interest in the home grown varieties.

“It appears that they are. And I think also local Iowa wineries are doing a great job of building events and adding attractions to their locations — so they are drawing more people to their locations — which spikes sales as well,” according to Bailey. The state saw an increase in the number of liquor licenses issued.

“Where we are seeing steady growth is in the number of premises that sell hard liquor,” Bailey says. The state now allows convenience stores and other retailers to sell hard liquor, and he says that’s where the expansion continues.

“Slow growth, you know it’s not overwhelming….I think right now there are over 1,360 or 1,370 licenses that we deliver to and we see that that’s really approaching 1,4000,” Bailey explains. Whiskey and Vodka remain the top selling items for the state.

“You look at the top 10, several of them are vodkas, so vodka is currently the liquor of choice — although whiskey is making a comeback,” Bailey says. The ABD turn over $105.6 million to the state general fund.