- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Alcohol revenue is up in Iowa, thanks in part to sales from wholesale liquor and popular flavored items, according to a new report.

Wholesale liquor sales reached more than $263 million in the fiscal year that ended in 2014, the annual report from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division shows. That’s more than a $7 million increase from the previous fiscal year, and it contributed to a 3 percent increase in revenue overall, the Telegraph Herald reported (https://bit.ly/12jXFVm ).

The spike in liquor sales has been evident since 2011, when the variation of flavored liquors really jumped, said division Administrator Stephen Larson.

“Flavored vodka, flavored whiskey, things like that,” began selling well, he said. “In essence, the explosion of flavors for a few fiscal years drove that market growth.”

Well-known traditional brands also sold very well. Canadian whiskey Black Velvet is the state’s top brand, followed by Hawkeye Vodka, Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, Five O’Clock Vodka, Smirnoff Vodka and Jack Daniel’s Black Label.

About 75 million gallons of beer were sold in Iowa in the fiscal year that ended in 2014, up from 73 million in the previous year. The craft beer industry seems to be helping, said Larson.

The state is “collecting a little bit more in beer tax, which is being driven by the craft beer industry,” he said.

When wholesale liquor sales are combined with beer tax revenue, license fees and wine taxes, alcohol revenue topped $300 million in the state. The 3 percent jump from the previous fiscal year is substantially less than the 9.5 percent increase seen in the fiscal year that ended in 2012.

Larson said he expects modest percentage increases in revenue in the future, and said that’s still good news.

“Dollar-wise, when you’re talking about 2 or 3 percent growth, you’re still receiving $5 to $6 million more,” he said.


Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com

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