RICHMOND – The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Authority announced its 20th consecutive record-breaking year, with fiscal year 2018 gross sales topping $984.8 million, up $43.6 million over the previous year. During the same timeframe, retail sales grew 4.5 percent and licensee sales (sales to restaurants) climbed 4 percent.
Virginia ABC submitted these unaudited draft financial statements to the Virginia Department of Accounts and Auditor of Public Accounts. The final, audited results will be released in the fall.
Virginia ABC transferred earnings to the commonwealth (designated as profit and other Appropriation Act transfers), which includes retail sales and other revenue such as license fees and permits totaling $178.6 million, an increase of $7.4 million over the previous year. As required in the Appropriation Act, $65.4 million of the transfers are designated for the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services. The remaining $113.2 million was distributed to the general fund in accordance with the Code of Virginia.
“Virginia ABC transitioned to an authority earlier this year, allowing us to pursue retail and organizational efficiencies that will provide for improved operations and long-term profitability,” said Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill. “Looking forward, Virginia ABC is in the midst of a modernization effort that will streamline operations and enhance customer service over the coming years.”
Through authorization by the Executive Branch and General Assembly, Virginia ABC is pursing the construction of a new central office and warehouse that will support continued store growth to meet consumer’s needs.
“Virginia ABC is also tending to its long-neglected information technology infrastructure, implementing new licensing and financial systems as well as increasing its presence on online platforms through an enhanced website and e-commerce capabilities,” said Hill.
During fiscal year 2018, Virginia ABC opened five new stores across the state, generating $5.4 million in sales. ABC also oversaw 11 store remodels and two store relocations to improved market areas, enhancing customer service and accessibility. Sunday sales also continue to play a role in the rising revenue, increasing by $14 million or 23.3 percent in fiscal year 2018 to $74 million with an additional hour of opening.
“Our strategy to continue to grow our store portfolio puts us on a course to exceed $1 billion in gross sales by the end of the 2019 fiscal year,” said Hill. “Of course, reaching such an incredible milestone would not be possible without the outstanding efforts of our full and part-time employees. It is due to their work that we are able to tout these achievements.”
According to fiscal year 2018 sales, the top five brands purchased in Virginia ABC stores are:
1. Tito’s Handmade – domestic vodka
2. Hennessy VS – cognac/armagnac
3. Jack Daniel’s 7 Black – Tennessee whiskey
4. Jim Beam – straight bourbon
5. Fireball Cinnamon – imported cordial
Of the five top sellers, Tito’s Handmade domestic vodka saw the most impressive leap in sales, from $25 million to $33.5 million, a 33.7 percent increase followed by Jim Beam straight bourbon from $20.4 million to $21.5 million, a 5.3 percent increase over fiscal year 2017.