By Marc Kovac
Ohioans continue to imbibe at record levels, according to new liquor-sales statistics released Thursday by the Ohio Department of Commerce.
Spirituous-liquor sales reached $898 million for 2013, an increase of about $49 million from 2012.
The state’s liquor-control division reported sales of 12 million gallons for the year, up from 11.9 million in 2012, 11.4 million in 2011 and 11 million in 2010.
The total dollar value for retail sales of beverages containing more than 21 percent alcohol by volume rose to $635 million, with a wholesale level of $264 million, increases of 7.4 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.
“Ohioans continue to trade up, buying more of the premium products as consumer tastes become more sophisticated,” Bruce Stevenson, superintendent of the liquor division, said in a released statement. “Quality customer service and better inventory management are the main ingredients that resulted in record dollar sales without encouraging increased consumption.”
Top sellers for 2013 were Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey (351,125 gallons), Kamchatka Vodka (294,168 gallons), Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey (286,451 gallons) and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum (283,000 gallons).
Others in the Top 10 were Absolut Vodka, Bacardi Superior Light Rum, Smirnoff Vodka, Jagermeister, Blue 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 466 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 the latter.