VABC sees another record-breaking sales year

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's been another record breaking year for Virginia's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (VABC). The Department says it's the 13th year in a row they've seen retail sales increase.

The VABC sold roughly 10 million gallons of wine, spirits, and nonalcoholic mixers in the last fiscal year.

NBC12 stopped by one store, where shoppers filtered in and out all evening.

"I do shop here often. It's a convenient location and I like the access of the option to pick what drink I want," said Dreama Baker- a regular shopper.

VABC store sales keep climbing. The department saw a profit of $121 million dollars last year. Sunday store sales increased by nearly 10%.

"The staffs are always really friendly," said Bill Becker who has been shopping at the VABC for some time. "I live right up the street so anytime, usually this is where I go for my alcohol needs."

"They have excellent customer service," said Baker. "The variety of drinks is always up to date."

The impact isn't just being felt inside the doors of the VABC.

"We actually have customers who are first going to the ABC store. They see our restaurant, and then they come here," said Anjelica Foreman, who works at Jamaica House. Jamaica House is situated next door to the VABC.

"I stop and make my order first and then I probably come and get me something light to end my night after a hard day," said Baker, who tells us she frequently makes a stop at one business, and then shops at the other.

But some blame the increased sales on broken spirits, caused by the bad economy.

"Jobs- not having money. Economic stresses," said Brenden Jackson, a local shopper.

A chairman with a Richmond based Alcoholics Anonymous Group says they've seen what appears to be more calls for help. Though, there's no way to tell whether that is a direct correlation to increased liquor sales.

He did confirm, callers often blame depression and joblessness.

Discussions continue about privatizing the state's liquor sales.

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