Iowa has seen a rise in liquor sales, according to a report released today. The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, which sells liquor [not beer or wine] to grocery stores, liquor stores and convenience stores, released a report today laying out the latest trends in its sales to those retailers. The agency does not track individual consumer buying habits. Here’s what they found.


Liquor sales for the months of March and April were $31.9 million and $28.6 million respectively, an increase of 18% and 2% over the same months in 2019. There was an 82% increase in the number of 1.75-liter liquor products sold by the division to liquor stores to retailers between March 16 and April 1, compared with the same time in 2019. Case sales of standard-sized 750-milliliter bottles increased by 51%. This surge in sales is believed to be due to increased by-the-bottle purchases by consumers. Case sales of 50-milliliter bottles increased by 39% during the week of March 19, compared with the year before. That coincides with a governor’s proclamation allowing bars and restaurants to sell bottles of liquor to go. The sale of 750-milliliter bottles increased 20% the week of March 31 compared with the prior year, coinciding with a proclamation that allowed bars and restaurants to sell mixed drinks and cocktails to go. Sales to independent liquor stores, which sell directly to bars and restaurants, dropped by 44% since March 17 as demand dropped with the closure of those businesses. Officials with the Alcoholic Beverages Division said with restaurants now reopening on a limited capacity, they hope to see an increase in demand and sales. Bars remain closed.