Unique Year Yields Record Alcohol Revenue and Increased Educational Efforts
Fiscal year 2012, which ended June 30th, was a year of transition for the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD). The agency collected and generated a record $115 million while dealing with increased delivery locations during the first year since legislation removed restrictions on gas stations selling spirits. The ABD also worked on implementing the vision laid out in the agency’s four-year strategic plan, which focuses on aligning operations to increase efficiencies and services.
“Many large, long-term projects were completed this year,” said ABD Administrator Stephen Larson. “We launched online reporting of beer and wine taxes, initiated a comprehensive alcohol compliance program, and created an alcohol server eLearning course.” All of these and more were accomplished while having another record-breaking year in sales and funds generated for the State.
Total spirits sales were more than $242 million, $21 million or 6 percent over the previous year, and the highest since fiscal year 1988 when the state became the exclusive wholesaler of spirits. In addition to revenue from spirits profits, funds generated by taxes on wine and beer, license fees and civil penalties also increased.
The majority of this money is transferred to the State General Fund to be appropriated by the legislature for a variety of state programs. Nearly $18 million was generated for substance abuse programs. Cities and counties received more than $3.6 million to support local programs and the remaining funds will be used for Iowa native wine and beer promotion.
The increased sales trend has continued into fiscal year 2013 with gross sales up 13 percent for the first four months. The ABD continues to move forward with the momentum started in fiscal year 2012 on education and compliance initiatives.
“Our success is also mirrored in our efforts to provide educational resources to our partners that increase regulatory compliance and social responsibility,” Larson said. “We balance our goal of generating revenue for the State with the desire to lead the effort to ensure laws and regulations are followed in addition to promoting the health and welfare of Iowans.”
During fiscal year 2012, the ABD’s Regulatory Affairs Bureau initiated a comprehensive alcohol compliance program to increase compliance through education, voluntary adherence and punitive regulation. “During the inaugural year of the compliance program, more than two-thirds of routine checks found licensees to be in compliance,” according to Larson. “However 54 percent of complaint-initiated investigations found violations.” The top three offenses were bootlegging, infusing and retailers purchasing product from businesses not licensed for wholesale.
The agency also actively worked to strengthen partnerships with law enforcement throughout the state. Alcohol compliance training, education, and assistance in investigations were provided to dozens of law enforcement agencies. Additionally, the ABD is now contributing to the curriculum for the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.
ABD’s fiscal year 2012 Annual Report is available for download. Financial figures have not yet been audited.