Vodka No. 1 in Suffolk

Published 10:46 pm Friday, September 19, 2014

Suffolk's newest ABC store before its opening in January 2012.

Suffolk’s newest ABC store before its opening in January 2012.

Customers at Alcoholic Beverage Control stores in Suffolk dropped $7.3 million on more than 570,000 bottles of alcohol in fiscal year 2014, an increase of 7 percent over how much they spent in the previous fiscal year.

They also tended to prefer vodkas and whiskeys over other kinds of liquor, with various brands of both making up four of the top five products in Suffolk stores.

Smirnoff 80 Domestic Vodka was No. 1 for customers at the four Suffolk stores, followed by Hennessy Vs Cognac/Armagnac; Crown Royal Canadian Whisky; Jack Daniel’s 7 Black Tennessee Whiskey; and Absolut Imported Vodka.

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The Hennessy product jumped onto the top-5 list this year, knocking Absolut from second to fifth place, which replaced Jim Beam Straight Bourbon Whiskey from the 2013 list.

Statewide, fiscal year 2014 was the 16th straight record-setting year for sales, with gross sales coming to $801 million. Profits rose to $140 million.

ABC profits combined with state taxes, sales tax and wine and beer taxes resulted in $387 million transferred to Virginia’s general fund. ABC continues to be a major source of revenue for the state, according to an ABC press release.

“ABC’s repeat record-setting performance reflects our efforts to adapt to an ever-changing market in sometimes challenging economic times,” said ABC Chairman Jeff Painter. “Increased sales can also be attributed to population growth in the commonwealth, the strategic opening of seven new stores and a continued positive response to Sunday store hours.”

While the rapid increase in sales seen in previous years has begun to stabilize, total Sunday sales rose by $2.8 million, or 6.7 percent, from fiscal year 2013 to fiscal year 2014. It is anticipated that going forward Sunday sales will increase in line with the overall sales growth, according to the press release.

Statewide, bourbon and Tennessee whiskey experienced a resurgence that has been going on nationally in the last five years, netting combined sales of $241.5 million, according to an ABC press release.

Vodka was not far behind with combined sales of $215.7 million for domestic, imported and flavored vodkas. Cordials were next, with $99.1 million.

Jack Daniel’s 7 Black was the top-selling product statewide, followed by Smirnoff 80, Jim Beam, Grey Goose and Fireball Cinnamon.