Stateways Sept-Oct 2014

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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Page 14 of 51

15 StateWays Q Q September/October 2014 +++++++++++++++++++++ CONTROL STATES EXECUTIVE FORUM all indications, it's working! As we close out Fiscal Year 2014, ABC store sales are more than $15 million ahead of last year at this same time. It ap- pears that our stores will generate more than $420 million this fiscal year and return more than half of that amount to state coffers to pay for other state pro- grams and services. The Distiller's League of Alabama re- cently hosted its sixth trade show for our licensees. Our store employees from both retail and wholesale outlets, as well as clients from package stores, bars and restaurants really enjoyed the show and the dis- counts that were offered. When the total sales are tallied, we expect the show, which was held at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Resort, to generate more than $2 million. In just three short years, this trade show has become one of the most anticipated and well-attended events in our business. The event is an exceptional and innovative way to get in front of clients, demonstrate and launch new products, and talk face-to-face with prospec- tive customers in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. Additionally, the show helps foster and cement the essential relation- ships between the distillers, brokers, product manage- ment staff, and customers. Integrating Enforcement Efforts Our enforcement division continues to be integrated into the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. The Ala- bama Legislature in 2013 required that nearly all law en- forcement activities be consolidated into one cabinet-level agency by January 2015. While we'll no longer have sworn officers on staff, enforcement officers will be on-call and ready to respond as needed. Obviously, the reorganization does present some unique challenges for us, but I'm con- fident that our employees are more than up to the task. Another challenge we expect to face next fiscal year is a legislative effort to privatize our stores. A state sen- ator has publicly stated that one of his primary goals for the 2015 session will be "getting the state out of the retail liquor business." What is equally disappointing is that the senator chairs the committee that oversees the very budget that benefits from the revenues our stores generate. Since our operation is wholly owned by con- sumers, costs the state nothing - and with a general fund budget of a little more than $1.8 billion - privatiz- ing our stores is a tremendous financial gamble in these uncertain times. However, we do look forward to the discussion and raising awareness about how efficient and effective the Alabama ABC Board is for the citizens of our state. IDAHO Jeffrey R. Anderson Director, State Liquor Division T he Idaho State Liquor Division (ISLD) continues to responsibly implement our strategic plan for the benefit of the Peo- ple of the Gem State. Fiscal Year 2014 was another very successful year for the ISLD. Sales for FY14 increased 2.8%, generating a distribution increase of 5%. Nine-liter case equivalent volume increased 0.5%. Distributions of $63 million to our good causes – Idaho's cities and counties, the general fund, education, court ser- vices, and substance abuse and treatment programs – dem- onstrated we are Citizen-Owned for the Benefit of All. These resources, along with National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA) grants, enabled us to engage with the communities and programs we support. The significant social benefits of Idaho's model of spirits distribution beyond our record distributions were enhanced by partnering with NABCA to provide grants and sponsor- ships of important programs focused on prevention, youth education, and law enforcement initiatives. After-Effects of Washington Privatization The ISLD cycled through the second anniversary of Washington State Initiative-1183 taking effect, which dis- mantled the model of spirits distribution in the Evergreen State. The added taxes and fees resulted in higher retail prices in Washington and led to significant Idaho sales growth last fiscal year at our outlets near the Washington border as consumers sought out our uniform, state-wide, lower prices and consistently superior selection. Our associates and valued business partners contin- ue to deliver on strategic initiatives – transforming the customer experience at retail and with the Division in general with upgrades to retail stores, improved product selection, optimized shelf sets, logistics improvement ini- tiatives, and secret shopper programs. A new consumer-focused website, www.mixblendenjoy. com, was launched for enhanced customer service. It's mobile-enabled and allows our patrons to explore new products and recipes, find our conveniently located stores and hours, search for hard-to-find products, and learn about responsible hosting and use of distilled spirits. Supporting Craft Spirits Like much of the country, Idaho is seeing a prolifera- tion of new, in-state craft distillers beginning production. This year, Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter signed SB 1335 into law, which permits Idaho distillers to begin wet sam-

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