Idaho’s state liquor dispensary has seen a huge jump in sales since 2002 – 87 percent – but not because Idahoans are necessarily boozing it up more. Instead, according to dispensary Superintendent Dyke Nally, the increase is coming from two things: population growth, and customers buying more-expensive liquor. Idaho is seeing new residents who are “more affluent consumers,” Nally said, “people from other areas who had experienced drinking higher-priced products.” So while sales are up 87 percent in dollars, they’re only up 59 percent in bottles. Per capita consumption is generally flat.
Here’s proof of the trend: The liquor dispensary’s priciest product normally is a French cognac, Remy Martin’s Louis XIII, that sells for $1,300 a bottle, earning the state a $547 profit. “We sell a few of those each year,” Nally told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. So it was a risk when the dispensary decided to order in a bottle of special 50-year-old scotch that sells for a whopping $6,000. Would it sell? Surprisingly, Nally said, “We had two people fighting over it.” That was over in the Sun Valley area.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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