Va. ABC sets another record for alcohol sales

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Agency reports spirited sales in 2013, with profits up by $2 million over last year.

By Landmark News Service

For the 15th consecutive year, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s stores have had record-setting sales, according to a news release.
Gross sales increased to $769 million, up $35 million from the previous fiscal year. Profits have risen to $134 million, which is an increase of $2 million from last year.

The growth in sales is attributed to expanded Sunday sales and the opening of six new stores in Virginia, according to the news release. ABC Chairman J. Neal Insley said there is also a trend of customers buying more top-shelf brands.
The top five selling brands, in order, are Jack Daniel’s 7 Black, Smirnoff 80, Jim Beam, Grey Goose and Crown Royal.
The state’s shoppers have bought $212 million worth of vodka, $145 million worth of whiskey and $90.5 million worth of cordials.
Corn whiskey, or legal moonshine, had the biggest increase, with $3.8 million in sales compared to $1.7 million the previous year.
Retail sales grew 5.5 percent and sales to restaurants increased 1.5 percent from the 2012 fiscal year. Profits, combined with state, sales and wine and beer taxes mean $370 million was transferred to the state’s general fund. That’s an increase of $10 million from last year.
In the past five years, the news release said, ABC has contributed more than $1.7 billion to the state coffers.


Getting clean and sober is a difficult task for some, and especially during the holiday season with holiday cheer being associated with drinking. The Twin County Prevention Coalition offers the following tips to make staying sober easier.

Plan Your Days
Let your sponsor or friend in recovery know where you will be, and have their phone number with you in case you need encouragement.

Have a Plan B
If you must attend a party or gathering where alcohol is being served, have an escape route or alternative place to go if you suddenly feel uncomfortable around the alcohol. Do something else,  like go out for a coffee or out to a movie.

Outsmart the Disease
Stay connected to sober people, places, and things and don’t go to places serving alcohol if you don’t need to.

Be Specific When Offered a Drink
Instead of awkwardly telling the person that you’re a recovering alcoholic, just say “Sure, a Coke/Sprite/water with lemon would be great.” Let your family and friends know to serve non-alcoholic alternative beverages.

Take Extra Care of Yourself
Remember to slow down and take some quiet time for yourself during this busy time of year.

Don’t Overindulge
Go easy on the holiday sweets, exercise regularly, and don’t try to do too much.

Find New Ways to Celebrate
Create some new symbols and rituals that will help redefine a joyful holiday season. You might host a holiday gathering for special recovering friends and/or attend celebrations of your 12 Step group.

During this busy time of year, exercise helps to relieve stress.

Enhance your support network
Join with others in AA/NA, church, civic organizations and/or veterans groups.

Volunteer in your community
You will help others and yourself.  

Twin County Prevention Coalition is a non-profit organization of community members who meet on a monthly basis to discuss substance abuse issues and concerns within the Twin Counties. The coalition looks to effect change within the community by providing education and support and referrals to community service providers. The coalition meets on the second Tuesday of every month at the SOBER House Community Resource Room. For more information, call counselor Penny Dean with Mount Rogers Mental Health at (276) 238-9700 or Debbie May, director of marketing at Galax Life Center, at (276) 236-8365.
To learn more about the TCPC, visit www.tcprevent.org/.