The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority’s gross revenue for the fiscal year ending in June stood at $1.4 billion, up $60 million from a year before, according to preliminary figures reported by the state agency.
For the fiscal year, ABC contributed nearly $623 million to designated state-government programs, as required by law, up about 1 percent from a year before. The total reflects $243.6 million in profits from retail sales, $294.8 million in taxes (retail) and $84.4 million collected in wine and beer taxes.
“The shifting landscape of a post-pandemic economy and our ability to continue adjusting our response to consumer demand demonstrates the resourcefulness of our ABC teammates, particularly those in retail and distribution,” said Travis Hill, CEO of the agency that in Virginia holds a monopoly on the sale of most hard liquor.
While overall sales were up, the growth was driven by sales to licensees (such as bars and restaurants), with direct sales to retail patrons down 2.4 percent. Sunday sales declined for the first time since being authorized in 2015, from $104.9 million in fiscal 2021 to $98.9 million in fiscal 2022, but was 25 percent higher than pre-pandemic Sunday sales of $79.4 million in 2019.
Two new stores generated $3.7 million in sales for the year, and ABC also oversaw six store expansions/remodels and 10 relocations, but supply-chain and related issues slowed the agency’s planned expansion during the year.
While the rate of online orders declined over the course of the year as customers returned to in-person shopping, online ordering remained materially higher than pre-pandemic levels. As expected in the COVID-receding era, licensees re-opened and restocked their bars and consumers returned to dining out, resulting in fiscal 2022 sales to restaurant and hospitality businesses exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
Licensee sales reached $229.5 million in fiscal 2022, 43 percent higher than a year before and 22 percent higher than the pre-pandemic fiscal 2019.
Based on fiscal 2022 sales, the top five brands purchased in Virginia ABC stores were:
• Tito’s Handmade – domestic vodka
• Hennessy VS – cognac/Armagnac
• Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Black – Tennessee whiskey
• Patron Silver – tequila
• Jim Beam – straight bourbon
These five repeated their 2021 standing as the five brands in Virginia. Of the five top sellers, Tito’s Handmade vodka saw the most impressive leap in sales, from $57.9 million to $66.9 million, a 16-percent increase, followed by Jim Beam from $23.2 million to $24.2 million, a 4-percent increase. Sales of Hennessy VS and Patron Silver fell in fiscal 2022 due to supply-chain disruptions, while Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Black sales were unchanged at $30.4 million for both years.
Greater demand for aged products quickly depleted inventories manufactured years ahead of the pandemic, with no ready supply to supplement inventories. Packaging issues, workforce availability, ingredient shortages and shipping bottlenecks are just a few of the challenges that presented additional pressures on performance throughout the supply chain, from manufacturer to retailer, ABC officials said.
Virginia ABC’s final, audited results will be released in the fall. For more information, see the Website at www.abc.virginia.gov.