By Marc Kovac
Ohioans imbibed more in 2012, lifting spirituous liquor sales to record levels and boosting the state’s coffers in the process, according to new statistics released by state officials.
The Ohio Department of Commerce reported 11.9 million gallons of liquor — beverages containing more than 21 percent alcohol by volume — were sold in 2012, up from 11.4 million in 2011 and 11 million in 2010.
Total dollar value of such sales hit $849 million, up from $793.7 million in 2011 and $753.7 million in 2010.
“Strong wholesale indicates positive growth in Ohio’s economy as Ohioans are again patronizing restaurants and entertainment businesses,” David Goodman, director of the Ohio Department of Commerce, said.
Top sellers were Kamchatka Vodka (364,914 gallons), Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey (355,068 gallons), Bacardi Superior Light Rum (287,378 gallons), Absolut Vodka (281,898 gallons) and Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey (281,295 gallons).
Others in the Top 10 included Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Smirnoff Vodka, Jagermeister, Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey and Korski Vodka .
The state’s liquor control division oversees the manufacture and sale of alcohol in Ohio and serves as its sole purchaser and distributor. Liquor is sold through 464 private businesses that operate under contracts. The state receives sales revenues from liquor, as well as sales and liquor taxes. Consumers pay more than $3 per gallon on taxes.
Wholesale dollar sales — liquor purchased by retail permit holders — also increased last year to $257.8 million, up 5.7 percent from 2011.