Today the Associated Press reports that liquor laws, especially those which prohibit sale of spirits on Sundays, may be repealed in an effort to boost individual state economies.
AP writer Brock Vergakis writes, “In Utah, and across the country, governors and lawmakers faced with budget deficits are advocating loosening laws that restrict alcohol consumption in the hopes of boosting tax revenues.” Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota and Texas all plan to end present bans on Sunday liquor sales with hopes of boosting revenue with the day’s worth of sales added to weekly figures.
State governments choosing to capitalize on alcohol sales may never have picked a better time, in spite of the recession, as liquor sales are on the rise just about everywhere. Across the US during the year of 2008, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) reports that sales rose 2.8 percent from 2007 to $18.7 billion in 2008, according to revenues reported by liquor suppliers. For instance, in Perham, Minnesota, the local municipal liquor store saw an increase in sales by nearly a half million dollars during this period; nearly a 33% gain.
But perhaps, in spite of increased sales, “Recession Proof” isn’t the best term to flaunt during these trying times. According to DISCUS President Peter Cressy, liquor is merely “recession resilient”, which he says is “a point industry officials make when cautioning lawmakers about raising taxes.” A word of warning, perhaps, to states like California, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Virginia, who have all recently suggested a raise in alcohol taxes to achieve budget recoups.
Though economic turmoil in the US affects the world abroad, liquor sales continue to rise outside the United States just as well. Express Buzz reported today that, in spite of the “global economic meltdown,” sales of Indian-Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) have seen an all-time increase of 28 percent, with its consumption having risen by as much as 17 percent.
In spite of the fact that the sale of alcohol continues to grow in numbers, if government intervention on a large scale does begin to occur, who knows how many different ways the alcohol industry may be affected. Let’s hope that it is well-thought and carefully planned, resulting in increased sales, and thus increased revenue, as opposed to mere increases in tax on spirits, with fewer incentives to buy; otherwise, alcohol’s true “resilience” may be tested indeed .