The Commonwealth of Virginia has broken another financial record, this time with alcohol sales. Yesterday, the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Authority (ABC) announced that their 2018 gross sales topped $984.8 million, leading to record sales for the 20th consecutive year. The sales were driven through retail sales that had a year-over-year increase of 4.5 percent and licensee sales – sales made to restaurants – that climbed four percent, according to a press release from ABC.

This comes out to about $115 of alcohol sales per person in the state.

Officials from ABC cite Sunday sales as a big contributor to the record-breaking sales, up $43 million from 2017. Moreover, the agency’s stores are widely accessible to those over the age of 21 due to the fact that over 90 percent of Virginia residents live within 10 minutes of an ABC store.

A spokesperson for the state agency said “Sunday sales also continue to play a role in the rising revenue, increasing by $14 million or 23.3 percent in fiscal year 2018 to $74 million with an additional hour of opening.”

Commenting on the near future of the Commonwealth’s alcohol sales, ABC Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill said, “Our strategy to continue to grow our store portfolio puts us on a course to exceed $1 billion in gross sales by the end of the 2019 fiscal year.”

The top five brands that led to enormous sales in 2018 are:

1. Tito’s Handmade – domestic vodka
2. Hennessy VS – cognac/armagnac
3. Jack Daniel’s 7 Black – Tennessee whiskey
4. Jim Beam – straight bourbon
5. Fireball Cinnamon – imported cordial

ABC has transferred earnings totaling $178.6 million to the Commonwealth through profits made on retail sales and other revenue such as license fees and permits – an increase of $7.4 million over the previous year. As stated in the release, as required in the General Assembly’s Appropriation Act, $65.4 million of the transfers are designated for the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services, with the remaining $113.2 million being distributed to the general fund.

Currently, Virginia ABC is pursing the construction of a new central office and warehouse that will support continued store growth to meet the demands of consumers statewide. They will also use funds to revamp it its “long-neglected information technology infrastructure,” and will be implementing new “licensing and financial systems.” The agency also seeks to increase its online presence and forward its e-commerce capabilities.