Another healthy shot to the booze industry

atthebarinsideTurns out booze really is recession proof. Retail sales at ABC stores statewide were up 12.3 percent in October compared to the previous year.

Sales to mixed beverage licensees (bar and restaurant owners) dipped in August by 5 percent from 2007. But the numbers leapt back up to a growth of 4.5% in September and October compared to the previous year.

According to figures from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, 16 of the top 50 brands sold at Richmond area ABC stores between July and October were either vodka or flavored vodka.

The number one seller for Richmond and the state was Jack Daniel’s 7 Black Tennessee whiskey. Richmond ABC stores sold 17,076 bottles of the black label whiskey for more than $328,000. Statewide stores sold $7.5 million worth of the caramel-colored concoction.

While there are no signs that drinkers are switching en masse to bargain brands (ABC compiles the top brand list every four months), one brand dropped significantly from the same period last year. Grey Goose Vodka, imported from France, was number one last year in Richmond with $422,845 in total sales. This year it dropped to number four (still the top selling vodka) with $299,672 in total sales.

Jagermeister also fell from number three during to number five from the same period last year. This year the specialty liqueur accounted for $267,993, down more than $13,000.

Between July and October, ABC customers in the Richmond area spent $10.46 million on 760,879 bottles. The Top 50 accounts for about 60% of sales.

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