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State liquor sales reach record high in 2014

By Grace Moody, For The Miami Student

Ohio spent $949 million on spirituous liquor in 2014, reaching a record high, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce's News Release from Feb. 11. This is a 5.6 percent increase from 2013.

The reason for this significant increase in sales, according to the Division of Liquor Control, is Ohioans' trend of drinking higher-quality alcohol. This increase, however, was not necessarily due to a higher consumption, but a higher dollar sale. There was a 3.1 percent increase in liquor sales of retail permit holders including restaurants, clubs and bars.

"Ohio customers are trading up and buying more premium items, increasing dollar sales without significantly increasing consumption," the news release reported.

The highest selling brand of spirituous liquor in Ohio last year was Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey. This reached a record high of selling 364,060 gallons. Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey came in second, with a total sale of 292,772 gallons.

Following these top two sellers is a list of eight other liquors ranked accordingly based on sales in the Buckeye State in 2014. Included are Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, Absolut Vodka, Bacardi Superior Light Rum, Smirnoff Vodka, Kamchatka Vodka, Jagermeister and Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey.

The Division of Liquor Control within the Department of Commerce selects and prices spirituous liquors such as those listed above. The Division will then supply given liquor to an "authorized agent." According to the Liquor Control Products summary, authorized agents are, "private businesses which own and operate retail outlets selling other goods and services to the public, such as beer, wine and low proof spirituous liquor, bread, milk and other grocery items."

There are around 450 liquor agencies throughout Ohio, as of 2015. A nearby liquor store to Oxford is located at the Fairfield Kroger. Unlike the Hamilton and Oxford Kroger, Fairfield has a liquor store, selling a wide variety of hard liquor. The Krogers in Hamilton and Oxford, however, do not sell hard liquor. The limitation on alcohol content restricts beer to 12 percent and 21 percent for all wine.

Walmart, located just minutes from Miami's campus, is another option for liquor sales. Walmart does not have a liquor store, but they do sell a variety of spirits, beer and wine.

As of Feb. 1, 2015, the Ohio Division of Liquor Control started a new project for improvement of the business. Known as the Liquor Modernization project, the focus will be on making the business more modern, innovative and customer-oriented, according to Department Superintendent Bruce Stevenson.

In his newsletter, "Ohio Spirits Insider," Stevenson included a major benefit of the project to be improved customer service. He wrote that this would be achieved by, "providing the popular, high quality products for our customers while promoting moderation."

In the month of January alone, the Department added 29 new spirits to their market. Included in "Ohio Spirits Insider's" list of featured new products are Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand Whiskey, Captain Morgan White Rum Flavors, Angel's Envy and Jim Beam Distillers Masterpiece.

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