Virginia liquor sales up $117M from last fiscal year

The Virginia Alcholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) released its financial statements for the fiscal year, showing a $117 million increase from the previous year. 

ABC revenues include the sale of distilled spirits, Virginia wines and mixers and license fees and other revenues. 

“In the months leading up to the pandemic, our sales performance was strong with a 7% increase over the prior year,” said chief executive officer Travis Hill. "While we saw even greater growth as the pandemic took hold, we also had to meet the challenges of keeping our customers and employees safe.”

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According to FY 2020 sales, the top five brands purchased in Virginia ABC stores were:

  • Tito’s Handmade – domestic vodka
  • Hennessy VS – cognac/Armagnac
  • Jack Daniel’s 7 Black – Tennessee whiskey
  • Jim Beam – straight bourbon
  • Patron Silver – tequila

Of the five top sellers, Hennessy VS cognac/Armagnac saw the most impressive leap in sales, from $35.3 million to $46.9 million, a 33% increase, according to ABC. Tito’s Handmade domestic vodka sales also increased from $42.1 million to $52.3 million, a 24% increase over FY 2019.

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Sales figures to restaurant and hospitality businesses show the devastating impact the pandemic is having on these segments of our economy. In response to the challenges faced by its licensees, ABC said it provided relief from regulatory challenges amid the pandemic by permitting the delivery and takeout of mixed beverages, accelerating the process for receiving outside dining area applications and deferring license renewal fees.

Even with these measures in place, licensee sales finished FY 2020 at a 19% decrease over the prior year, according to the report. 

From March to July, as restaurants struggled with closures and limited operations as the result of COVID-19, sales to licensees ranged from 0% to 10.6% of ABC’s overall sales volume, with the majority of Virginia ABC’s sales increases coming from retail customers taking spirits home. Sales to licensees historically represent 18% of ABC’s revenue.

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“The pandemic has greatly affected our licensed establishments and Virginia’s distilled spirits industry. We will continue to work with them to understand their challenges and adjust our processes to ease some of their pandemic-related pressures whenever possible,” said Hill. “In this crisis, numbers only really tell part of the story. On the individual level, people are either looking for new employment or working under the challenges of the pandemic. ABC is no different than any other business in that our success this year would not have been possible without the commitment and sacrifice of our employees.”

For more information about Virginia ABC’s sales and revenue, visit