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Iowa’s state liquor agency reports record-busting year for sales, profits

owans who enjoy a cocktail have been doing their part to help fund state government.

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, which is the state’s liquor wholesaler, said Monday it had a record-breaking year in sales and profits for the state fiscal year that ended June 30.

The agency collected and generated $119.5 million in profits for Iowa government programs while focusing on evaluating delivery processes, facility infrastructures and technologies to find efficiencies and prepare for growth, said Stephen Larson, the state’s liquor administrator. For the third year in a row, the administration put great emphasis on education and outreach for licensees, partners, stakeholders and citizens.

“This past year was dedicated to improving processes and laying the groundwork to achieve results over the next decade,” Larson said in a prepared statement. The agency, which monitors compliance with state alcohol and tobacco laws, believes its education and outreach efforts are showing results with positive compliance trends

Total liquor sales were nearly $256 million, which was $21 million or 5.6 percent over the previous year, and the highest since fiscal year 1988 when the state became the exclusive wholesaler of liquor. In addition to revenue from liquor profits, funds generated by excise taxes, license fees and civil penalties also increased.

The majority of the profits are transferred to the state’s general fund to be appropriated by the Iowa Legislature for a variety of state programs. Nearly $19 million was generated for substance abuse programs. Cities and counties received more than $3.6 million to support local programs and the remaining funds are used for Iowa native wine and beer promotion.

The increased sales trend has continued into the current fiscal year with gross sales up 1.7 percent or $1.6 million for the first four months, Larson said. In fiscal year 2013, the agency implemented projects to allow for productivity enhancement and improved space utilization, creating the opportunity to increase selection for consumers.

The state agency continues to move forward with a focus on education and compliance initiatives, said Claire Celsi, chairwoman of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Commission.

“We serve not only the liquor licensee, but the entire state of Iowa. It’s our duty to ensure that we’re doing what we can to protect the public by monitoring trends, creating opportunities for community partnership, and educating both licensees and the public about the responsible use and distribution of alcohol,” Celsi said.

Larson said the agency has taken a broad approach to educating retailers, industry members, law enforcement, local officials and citizens regarding issues ranging from prevention initiatives to compliance with laws.

This year the agency began holding town hall meetings in each county to educate and increase communications between the agency, local authorities and retailers. Educational materials were also sent to retailers in March advising of training opportunities and best practices for preventing sales to underage during prom and graduation season. For the first time, April was officially declared Alcohol Awareness Month in the state of Iowa by a proclamation from Governor Terry E. Branstad.

The Alcoholic Beverages Division’s fiscal year 2013 Annual Report is available online at IowaABD.com. Financial figures have not yet been audited.

Source: Iowa Press Citizen

http://www.press-citizen.com/article/20131125/NEWS01/131125019/Iowa-s-state-liquor-agency-reports-record-busting-year-sales-profits