Iowa sold record $256M in liquor last fiscal year

DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa sold a record $256 million in liquor last fiscal year, according to an annual report by a group monitoring alcoholic consumption in the state.

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division said in a report released Monday that the state’s wholesale liquor operation saw a 5.6 percent increase in sales during the year ending June 30, The Des Moines Register reported.

Retailers and restaurateurs said the sales have been pushed by new flavors. They range from cinnamon-flavored whiskey to glazed doughnut vodka.

“You’ve got young people who grew up on every form of pop and candy you can imagine, and now they’re drinking age, and they want the same variety of flavor in their drinks,” said Jeff Bruning, whose company, Full Court Press, operates nine restaurants and bars in downtown Des Moines.

In fact, bars and restaurants are promoting bartenders as “mixologists” who put together a combination of flavors.

“You’re now seeing suggested cocktails along with meals to enhance the flavor experience,” said Jessica Dunker, president of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “That used to only be done with wine. Then it became beer, and now you’re seeing the cocktails.”

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division said that, on average, an Iowa adult age 21 or older consumed 2.27 gallons of spirits, 2.03 gallons of wine and 33.56 gallons of beer last fiscal year. Beer sales declined about 5.8 percent between the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years. Wine sales went up 6.3 percent.