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Ohio's liquor sales soar to a new record
Signs of economic recovery and changing tastes show up in Ohio's liquor sales

Bill Cohen
Prices contributed more than volume to Ohio's record-setting liquor sales
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Ohioans bought more liquor last year than the year before at state liquor outlets. In fact, the dollar value of the liquor sold in 2012 rose 7 percent and set a new Ohio record. Nearly 12 million gallons of liquor were sold, and customers paid nearly $850 million for it.

While the dollar value set a new record, the amount did not. Matt Mullins speaks for the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, and explains to Ohio Public Radio's Bill Cohen that volumes are still below 1980s levels, but people are paying more.

COHEN and Mulliins: Premium product impact

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“We’re seeing a trend where consumers are trading up, and they have been for a few years; they’re buying more of the premium price products and they’re looking for unique tastes. With the release of a lot of different flavored items and unique spirit products, people are trading up to find something different and drinking for taste rather than drinking for quantity.

Mullins also sees signs of economic recovery in the sales numbers.

“Wholesale sales, … the sales to bars and restaurants, are up significantly over the last two years after we saw three years of that sales number declining. So that indicates that Ohio’s economy is growing and getting stronger.

The division reports that the top selling brand of liquor last year in Ohio was Kamchatka Vodka. It ranked just a bit ahead of the second place finisher -- Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey.

Here are the top-selling brands of liquor in Ohio for 2012 (by gallons sold):

  • Kamchatka Vodka – 364,914 gallons
  • Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey – 355,068 gallons
  • Bacardi Superior Light Rum – 287,378 gallons
  • Absolut Vodka – 281,898 gallons
  • Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey – 281,295 gallons
  • Captain Morgan Spiced Rum – 279,512 gallons
  • Smirnoff  Vodka  – 271,204 gallons
  • Jagermeister – 256,526 gallons
  • Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey – 231,888 gallons
  • Korski Vodka – 229,404 gallons 

Spirituous liquor is intoxicating liquor containing more than 21% alcohol by volume.

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