Iowa alcohol sales hit record numbers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa alcohol sales hit record numbers

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Iowans are buying more alcohol.

Thursday the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division reported collecting a record $115 million in taxes during Fiscal Year 2012, which ended in June.

Total liquor sales in Iowa from June 2011 to June 2012 hit more than $242 million.

That's the highest the state has seen dating back to 1988, when the state become the exclusive wholesaler of spirits.

The drinking is spread throughout Iowa-with the highest counties in "per capita gallonage sold" being Dickinson, Cerro Gordo, and Iowa.

The state's two largest counties hit the list at numbers four and eight.

And with the higher levels of alcohol sales, come more offenses.

There was a 261% spike statewide in administrative hearings for stores selling to minors.

Cedar Rapids Police Sergeant Cristy Hamblin says the city has seen a slight increase in sales to minors, public intoxications, and OWIs.

"All of the alcohol related offenses have gone up some, not an alarming rate, but they have increased," said Hamblin.

Sergeant Hamblin added that the increase in alcohol offenses can not officially be linked to the increase in sales.

But she said that if the trends both go up, it's something the Cedar Rapids Police Department will look into.

A majority of the money Iowa receives from alcohol sales goes into the state's general fund-and last year about $18 million was used to fund substance abuse programs.

Increased sales have continued through the first four months of fiscal year 13.

So far sales are up 13% over the same time last year.

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