Beer, wine, liquor are seasonal hits in North Iowa

2013-11-25T20:15:00Z 2013-11-25T22:07:42Z Beer, wine, liquor are seasonal hits in North IowaBy JOHN SKIPPER Mason City Globe Gazette

MASON CITY | North Iowa consumers have apparently done their part to contribute to the state's booming sales of liquor, wine and beer.

While Iowa sales hit a record high of $256 million in the last fiscal year, area liquor stores have experienced an uptick as well.

Examples are HyVee West in Mason City and Lake Liquors Wine and Spirits in Clear Lake.

"We're up, we're definitely up," said Bruce Long, wine and spirits manager at HyVee West. "The biggest increase is in retail rather than wholesale because we do both," he said.

Pattie McLaughlin, who, along with her husband, Mark, owns Lake Liquor, said her business is also up.

"Business is always good, but as the economy gets better, our sales get better," she said. "When the economy turns people start buying from the top shelf instead of the bottom shelf."

Both Long and McLaughlin said their sales are seasonal, but each had a different perspective on it. 

"Premium beers are big in the summer," said Long. "Imports are winter beers.

"Wine is biggest between September and April. In fact, the largest wine holiday is Thanksgiving. Easter is the second biggest holiday for wine," he said. "Each spirit seems to have its own season."

McLaughlin said being located in Clear Lake presents a special circumstance.

"Our sales are seasonal, but you have to remember we're a resort town here," she said. "So the Fourth of July is always our biggest time and Buddy Holly weekend is big, too. Then there's always New Year's Eve.

"Our motto is: Every day is an occasion," McLaughlin said.

State sales through the 12-month fiscal year that ended June 30 were up $21 million or 5.6 percent higher than the previous year and marked the highest level since the state became the exclusive wholesaler of spirits in Iowa in 1988, according to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.

Iowans bought 4.95 million gallons of spirits, up 1.9 percent from the previous year; 4.42 million gallons of wine, a 6.1 percent increase, and 73.1 million gallons of beer, which represented a 5.8 percent decline from fiscal 2012.

“Iowa is right on par with national trends, which are indicating that beer consumption is down while wine and spirits consumption is up,” said division spokeswoman Tonya Dusold.

“Beer has been trending down for a number of years as people migrate over to wine and spirits. Also, home brewing has been picking up and that may be having an impact on beer taxes collected for people brewing at home rather than purchasing from a retailer,” she added.

Fiscal 2013 also marked a record-breaking year for funds generated for the state at $119.5 million from the sale of spirits, as well as increased revenue generated by excise taxes, license fees and civil penalties, said ABD Administrator Stephen Larson.

The majority of the state proceeds were transferred to the general fund to be appropriated by the Iowa Legislature for a variety of state programs.

Rod Boshart of the Globe Gazette Des Moines contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 Mason City Globe Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Comment Policy
Keep it clean. Avoid language that is obscene, vulgar, lewd or sexually-oriented. If you can't control yourself, don't post it.
Don't threaten to hurt or kill anyone.
Be truthful.Don't lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person. PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK, and forgive people their spelling errors.
Let us know if it's getting out of hand. If you see offensive comments, don't quote or respond to them. Please use the "Report Abuse" button to bring it to our attention.
Share what you know, ask about what you don't. Give us your eyewitness accounts, background, observations and history. What more do you want to know about the story?
Stay focused, and ask questions. Keep on the story's topic.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Follow Us

Activate subscription button gif

Deals, Offers and Events

Call us today to clean out your drains! Mention this ad and receive $10 off of service! Call Helps Drain & Septic Service today at 641-423-0101

Mention this ad and receive $10 off of service!

Refer another customer to Garden Time Sprinkler Services and earn a $50 credit! (518) 745-7445

If you've had Garden Time Sprinkler Services install your lawn…

You have a choice of where you receive healthcare. Let Iowa Specialty Hospital take care of you.