January 24, 2014
Ohioans performed a record amount of elbow-bends last year as they downed enough liquor to fill more than 18 Olympic-size swimming pools.
Sales increased by $49 million, or 5.8 percent, in 2013, while consumption increased by 3 percent to more than 12 million gallons, the Ohio Division of Liquor Control announced yesterday.
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey (351,125 gallons) topped Kamchatka Vodka (294,168 gallons) as the best-selling hard stuff by volume.
Total sales of spirituous liquors, those containing more than 21 percent alcohol, reached a record $898 million, continuing a trend in which liquor sales have increased each year since 1994.
“Ohioans continue to trade up, buying more of the premium products as consumer tastes become more sophisticated,” Bruce Stevens, liquor-control superintendent, said.
Direct retail sales to imbibers totaled $635 million (an increase of 7 percent) through state-authorized sellers, while wholesale purchases by restaurants and bars increased 2.5 percent to $264 million.
Under a 25-year lease in which it paid $1.4 billion to the state, liquor income flows to JobsOhio Beverage System, the wholly owned subsidiary of Gov. John Kasich’s privatized economic-development agency, to fund its operations.
A Department of Commerce news release did not disclose profit figures for liquor sales in 2013. State officials said they did not have those numbers and that they would have to be provided by JobsOhio.
A JobsOhio spokeswoman said yesterday that the organization’s total liquor profit for the calendar year will be reported when its annual report is released Feb. 28. It reported $37.5 million in profit for the third quarter of last year.