100-proof doesn’t mean recession-proof

liquorshotThe state-run business of selling liquor is showing signs of a hangover. Sales to bars and restaurants for January were down 3 percent compared with the previous year.

For the fiscal year that began in July, year-to-date sales at Virginia ABC stores were still up 6.3 percent from the previous year. But the size of the increase is shrinking, down from an 8 percent year-to-date increase reported in October.

Sales to mixed beverage license holders – mostly bars and restaurants – are taking the biggest hit. Year-to-date sales have increased just less than 1 percent over the previous year, bringing in $77.7 million.

As Virginians cut back on going out, bars and restaurants are buying less booze from the ABC than they did last year — about 47,000 fewer bottles so far this year.

Sales to Joe Six-Pack are performing better, up 6.9 percent year-to-date for a total of more than $322 million so far this year. But that increase is four percentage points less than it was six months ago, when year-to-date retail dollars were up 11.1 percent.

BizSense previously reported on ABC sales here and here.

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