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DES MOINES, Iowa – Increased liquor consumption and a state law change affecting the sale of spirits at Iowa convenience stores resulted in a record year for alcohol revenue to the state, officials said Thursday.
The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) collected and generated a record $115 million in revenue for fiscal 2012, while dealing with increased delivery locations during the first year since legislation removed restrictions on gas stations selling spirits.
Total spirits sales were more than $242 million, a $21 million increase that was 6 percent over the previous year. Liquor sales in Iowa were the highest since fiscal year 1988 when the state became the exclusive wholesaler of spirits. In addition to revenue from spirits profits, funds generated by taxes on wine and beer, license fees and civil penalties also increased, said ABD Administrator Stephen Larson.
Most of the revenue generated by alcohol sales is transferred to the state General Fund to be appropriated by the Legislature for a variety of state programs. Nearly $18 million was generated for substance abuse programs, while cities and counties received more than $3.6 million to support local programs and the remaining funds will be used for Iowa native wine and beer promotion.
The trend of increased sales of alcoholic beverages has continued into the current fiscal year that began on July 1 with gross sales up 13 percent for the first four months, agency officials said.
Larson said his division also is continuing to move forward with the momentum started in fiscal year 2012 on education and compliance initiatives.
During fiscal 2012, the division's Regulatory Affairs Bureau initiated a comprehensive alcohol compliance program to increase compliance through education, voluntary adherence and punitive regulation, he said.
"During the inaugural year of the compliance program, more than two-thirds of routine checks found licensees to be in compliance," according to Larson. "However 54 percent of complaint-initiated investigations found violations."
The top three offenses were bootlegging, infusing and retailers purchasing product from businesses not licensed for wholesale.
The Alcoholic Beverages Division's fiscal 2012 annual report is available online at IowaABD.com.