The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) operations returned a record $152 million in profits to the commonwealth in fiscal year 2015, an increase of 8.6 percent over the previous year’s $140 million in profits. In its 17th consecutive record-setting year Virginia ABC realized $848.1 million in gross sales, $47.6 million higher than last year.
Retail sales to individuals in stores and online were $694,898,880, an increase of six percent over the previous year. Licensee sales (sales to restaurants) increased 4.4 percent to total $151,564,627 in fiscal year 2015. Virginia ABC’s profits combined with state taxes, sales tax, and wine and beer taxes, resulted in an all-time high of $409.3 million transferred to Virginia’s general fund, up $42.4 million from last year. ABC continues to be a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $8.6 billion to Virginia’s general fund since 1934 to support state services, including substance abuse prevention and treatment.
“Virginia ABC’s continued record-setting performance in fiscal year 2015 demonstrates the success of the agency’s concerted efforts to focus on improving customer service through retail and online initiatives over the past year,” said ABC Chairman Jeffrey Painter. “In addition to opening five new stores across the commonwealth, Virginia ABC launched an award-winning website (www.abc.virginia.gov) that allows customers to search for stores, determine the availability of products at any of its retail locations and order distilled spirits online for delivery to a local store.”
Additionally, with all of its 353 stores around the commonwealth open on Sundays, total Sunday sales increased by $3.8 million, or 8.4 percent, over the previous year. It is anticipated that going forward Sunday sales will continue to increase in line with the overall sales growth. The five new stores that opened in fiscal year 2015 generated a combined $1.9 million in sales.
The agency also continued to add to its line of premier stores, opening one in Virginia Beach in December 2014. As with the agency’s other premier retail outlets, the Virginia Beach location design reflects the culture and unique characteristics of its location with a coastal theme complete with wave, boardwalk and buoy elements. Product displays in the shape of boats and lighthouses add to the nautical concept.
The agency continues to build its premier retail outlets with the unveiling of its newest concept store scheduled for later this fall in Central Virginia.
Across the commonwealth, customers’ tastes reflected few major shifts. Jack Daniel’s 7 Black Tennessee whiskey, which saw $26.9 million in sales, again topped the list of ABC’s top-selling brands, followed once more by last year’s second best seller, Smirnoff 80 domestic vodka with sales of $18.9 million. Fireball Cinnamon, a cordial, moved from its fifth place ranking last year to third place in fiscal year 2015 with sales of this increasingly popular spirit reaching $18.8 million, a jump of more than 16 percent. Jim Beam straight bourbon, the third best selling spirit in fiscal year 2014, dropped to fifth place with sales of $18.6 million, ranking just below the fourth biggest seller, Hennessy VS cognac/armagnac, which realized the greatest sales growth at almost 24 percent over the previous year.