Go ahead, drink up, Ohio

Alex Hayes

Spirituous liquor sales reached a record $571 million across the state in 2004

Credit: Beth Rankin




Mmmm… cheap vodka.

These familiar sounds of last night are increasing, but not just in Kent — all over Ohio.

Ohioans said more “cheers” and spent more money on spirituous liquor, those which contain more than 21 percent alcohol by volume, last year than ever before.

Barb Movens, owner of TLC Wine and Liquor in Kent, said she has seen an increase in sales at her store.

Movens said these increases at her store had a lot to do with other retailers that shut down or lost sales licenses.

Top-sellers at TLC include Captain Morgan, Jagermeister, Jack Daniel’s and Grey Goose Vodka, she said. Captain Morgan and Jagermeister are popular sellers among college students.

Rae Ann Estep, superintendent of Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Liquor Control announced spirituous liquor total sales reached a record level of $571 million in 2004.

So, what are we drinking the most of in Ohio?

Cheap vodka!

Kamchatka Vodka is the most-consumed alcohol (by gallon) in Ohio.

According to BevMo.com, a Web site that describes and sells liquor, “Kamchatka is perfect for parties and weekend gatherings. A premium taste at a value price.”

But some Kent State students have different opinions on why the vodka is popular.

“College students don’t care about quality, they just want quantity,” junior English major Bethany Blevins said.

Senior sociology major Audrey Feigenbaum works at 101 Bottles of Beer on the Wall in Kent. The store doesn’t sell spirituous liquors, but it does carry the diluted version of Kamchatka Vodka.

“We sell tons of it,” Feigenbaum said. “I have tried it, and it’s OK for what it is, but I try not to drink that stuff.”

Estep attributed the increase in dollar sales to rising product prices and a “trend of consumers buying more premium-priced products.”

Other factors that contributed include a rise in the level of consumption, better management of contract liquor agency store locations, and the opening of more stores in under-served and economically viable areas, Estep said.

Alcohol sales have increased in other states, as well.

Pennsylvania saw an increase of $120 million in alcohol sales for fiscal year 2004. Pennsylvania is the top-selling state among control states, where state governments control and regulate alcohol sales.

Ohio ranks fourth among the 19 control states in gross dollar sales, according to compiled statistics from control state agencies.

Contact features reporter Alex Hayes at [email protected].