The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division released its 2014 annual report Tuesday, breaking down the booze-drinking habits of Iowans over the last year, gallon by gallon, county by county.
And, boy, are we drinking a lot these days. Over the past fiscal year (July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014), gross spirits sales in Iowa topped $263.5 million — a three percent increase from 2013, the previous record-holder. That’s a slight increase compared to previous years, the report notes, but still a marked leap from where the industry sat just a few years ago. In 2005, for example, gross spirits sales in Iowa were still shy of the $150 million mark:
Excise taxes on spirits, license fees and civil penalties netted an additional $119 million for the state in 2014, according to the report. These funds are transferred into a general fund and appropriated to state programs as stipulated by the Iowa General Assembly. This year, for instance, the Iowa Department of Public Health will receive about $19 million for the purpose of administering substance abuse programs.
How much are we drinking?
2014 was a record-breaking year for alcohol sales in Iowa, but what does that look like in terms of volume? Tens of millions of gallons of course: Iowans drank nearly 75 million gallons of beer in FY 2014 — a 2.5 percent increase over last year. That’s about 34 gallons of beer for every man and woman in Iowa, age 21 and up. For wine, consumption in Iowa has decreased slightly, down .7 percent from last year (4.38 million gallons consumed).
When it comes to Iowa’s liquor of choice, residents drank far more whiskey and vodka in FY 2014 than any other type of hard alcohol. Rum comes in a distant third, and though Iowa’s thirst for tequila, liqueur and brandy remains relatively small, consumption is higher than it was last year.
Total Alcohol Sold (In Gallons)
|Other Liquor||10,774||26,301||– 59%|
Which counties drink the most?
Home to a relatively small population of adults over the drinking age (11,917 according to the 2010 U.S. Census) Dickinson County sold more distilled spirits (per capita) in FY 2014 than any other county in Iowa, likely due to its tourist destinations like West Okoboji Lake. This figure is nearly double that of Cerro Gordo County, which comes in at number two.
Johnson County ranks tenth in Iowa, with 2.94 gallons of distilled spirits sold per capita. A complete listing of Iowa’s 99 counties is available in the full report.
Top 25 Counties: Gallons of distilled spirits sold per capita
|Rank||County||Gallons sold per capita|
What are the best-selling brands in Iowa?
Do you drink Black Velvet? Because a lot of Iowans do, apparently.
The Canadian whiskey topped Iowa’s list of best-selling spirits by a margin, with 130,938 cases sold in FY 2014. Hawkeye Vodka, a staple among cash-strapped college students, comes in a distant second with 96,765 cases. Rounding out the top three is Captain Morgan, and the list tapers off quickly from there:
Top 50 best-selling brands in Iowa
|3||Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum||91,208|
|4||Five O’Clock Vodka||56,170|
|6||Jack Daniel Black Label||38,560|
|7||Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey||38,337|
|8||Seagram Crown Royal||34,897|
|12||Bacardi Light Dry Rum||29,007|
|13||Seagram 7 Crown Whiskey||25,641|
|14||Admiral Nelson Spiced Rum||25,517|
|16||Paramount White Rum||23,254|
|18||Jim Beam Whiskey||19,673|
|19||GW Five Star Whiskey||19,408|
|21||Cuervo Especial Tequila||17,083|
|22||UV Blue Raspberry Vodka||16,952|
|23||Southern Comfort 70 Whiskey||16,708|
|25||Malibu Natural Rum||15,250|
|26||Dr. McGillicuddy Cherry||14,193|
|29||Grey Goose Vodka||13,368|
|32||Ten High Whiskey||12,216|
|34||Cuervo Lime Margarita||11,131|
|36||Paramount Peppermint Schnapps||10,665|
|37||Seagram Extra Dry Gin||10,648|
|38||Nikolai 80 Proof Vodka||10,592|
|40||Bailey’s Original Irish Cream Liquor||10,129|
|44||Hennessy VS Brandy||9,116|
|47||Black Velvet Toasted Caramel||8,920|
|48||Canadian Club 1858 Whiskey||8,821|
|49||Paramount Gold Rum||8,351|
And there you have it. Iowans like to drink, and we’re drinking more than ever. But what does next year have in store? Stay (mostly) lucid and find out! And in the mean time, read the complete Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division 2014 Annual Report.
Data via the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division 2014 Annual Report