- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The top Iowa counties for per-person liquor sales are vacation or population centers, a new report says, with one notable exception, Kossuth County.

The latest report from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division shows that in the fiscal year that ended in 2014, there were 3.12 gallons of liquor sold in the rural northern Iowa county for every person age 21 and older, The Des Moines Register reported (https://dmreg.co/17mNQJx ).

Kossuth County is behind only Cerro Gordo, Dickinson and Polk counties, which are considered vacation or population centers. They are home to places like Okoboji and the Iowa Great Lakes, as well as the state capital, Des Moines.

Robert Bailey, public information officer for the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, said the department doesn’t formally research why one county sells more liquor per capita than others.

“But Kossuth, I don’t know what explains that,” he said.

Jay Pedelty is a prevention specialist with Prairie Ridge Addiction Treatment Services, which has an office in Algona.

He thinks there could be cultural legacy at play, as many residents have German and Scandinavian ancestry. Those populations tend have a low perception of risks with alcohol, Pedelty said.

Still, Pedelty said it’s important to note that a third of alcohol users in Iowa consume 90 percent of the alcohol.

“The majority of alcohol is consumed problematically, consumed in high-risk fashion,” he said.

Only 16 percent of those surveyed by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps admit to excessive drinking, which is defined as four alcoholic beverages per day for women and five for men.

Among other findings in the report, annual liquor sales in the state jumped 3 percent over the fiscal year that ended in 2013, to $263.4 million. That’s the lowest rise since 2010.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com


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