The sippin’ of distilled spirits in the commonwealth is showing no signs of slowing down, as the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) marked its 18th consecutive, record-breaking year for sales in fiscal year 2016, which ended June 30.
Virginia ABC’s gross sales increased to $898 million, up $49.4 million over the previous year, while profits rose to $165 million, a jump of $13 million. Retail sales grew 5.4 percent and licensee sales (sales to restaurants) climbed 7.4 percent during the same timeframe.
ABC profits combined with state and general sales taxes as well as wine and beer taxes resulted in an all-time high of $433 million transferred to Virginia’s general fund, $24 million above last year’s contribution. A major source of revenue for the commonwealth, Virginia ABC has now contributed more than $9.5 billion to the general fund since 1934 to support state services, including substance abuse prevention and treatment.
“ABC’s persistent growth in sales and service reflect our successful efforts in adapting to a changing 21st century marketplace,” said ABC Chairman Jeffrey Painter. “Our latest efforts¬—an award-winning website, online sales, marketing campaigns, fresh product mix and innovative store designs—all demonstrate our commitment to taking the strategic actions necessary for reinvestment and advancement of the business to insure long-term stability and growth,” he said.
The agency’s financial performance during the fiscal year can be attributed in part to the opening of eight new stores across the state, generating $4.3 million in sales. ABC’s strategy to continue to grow its store portfolio is a major component of its consistent revenue growth. ABC also oversaw eight store remodels and ten store relocations to improved market areas, enhancing customer service and accessibility. Sunday sales also continue to play a role in the rising revenue, increasing by $3.3 million or 6.6 percent in fiscal year 2016 to $53 million.
Amber-colored liquors led the best-selling list statewide, with Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey taking top spot, followed by Hennessy Very Special (V.S) Cognac and Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Smirnoff (80-proof) Vodka and Fireball Cinnamon Whisky rounded out the top five, respectively. Of those five, Hennessy V.S saw the most impressive leap in sales, from $18.8 million to $25.2 million, a roughly 34 percent increase over fiscal year 2015.
“Fiscal year 2016 was a banner year for this agency,” said ABC Chief Operating Officer Travis Hill, “and ABC’s dedicated and resourceful employees are credited with these results. We will continue to strive for excellence in the next fiscal year and beyond as we look to make major, critical investments in our business and prepare for our transition to an authority structure in 2018.”
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $1.9 billion to the general fund in the last five years. The agency currently operates 363 state stores. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees more than 17,000 ABC licensed establishments while the Hearings and Appeals Division considers more than 700 cases each year. The agency also provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. Now marking its 83rd year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.
Virginia ABC Marks 18th Consecutive Record-Breaking Year for Sales