The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) marked its 19th consecutive record-breaking year for sales in fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30.
Virginia ABC’s gross sales increased to $940.1 million, up $42.5 million over the previous year, while profits rose to $171 million, a jump of $6 million. Retail sales grew 4.6 percent and licensee sales (sales to restaurants) climbed 4.1 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 $449 million transferred to Virginia’s general fund, $15 million above last year’s contribution. A major source of revenue for the commonwealth, Virginia ABC has now contributed more than $9.9 billion to the general fund since 1934 to support state services, including substance abuse prevention and treatment.
“ABC’s robust growth in sales and service are directly attributable to our ability to respond to the needs of the marketplace,” said ABC Chairman Jeffrey Painter. “Our fine-tuned online retail operations, targeted innovative marketing campaigns, a locally driven product mix and modernized store designs—demonstrate our strategic approach to reinvestment and advancement of the business to ensure continued success,” he added.
The agency’s financial performance during the fiscal year can be attributed in part to the opening of nine new stores across the state, generating $7.5 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 six store remodels and 13 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 $6.9 million or 13.2 percent in fiscal year 2017 to $59 million with an additional hour of opening.
Liquors that led the best-selling list statewide were Hennessy Very Special (V.S) cognac in the top spot, followed by Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee whiskey and Tito's Handmade domestic vodka. Jim Beam Kentucky straight bourbon and Smirnoff (80-proof) vodka rounded out the top five, respectively. Of those five, Hennessy V.S saw the most impressive leap in sales, from $25.2 million to $33.9 million, a roughly 34 percent increase followed by Tito’s Handmade vodka from $17.3 million to $25 million, a 43.9 percent increase over fiscal year 2016.
“The excellent fiscal year 2017 results reflect the continued commitment and hard work of Virginia ABC’s employees,” said ABC Chief Operating Officer Travis Hill. “As we prepare for the coming transition to an authority structure, ABC will rededicate itself to building on that excellence in the next fiscal year and beyond through strategic investments in our facilities, technical resources and employees. Our continued growth in the future depends on recognizing the sources of our success and continuing to devote our time and attention to their advancement.”
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 368 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.