For the second straight year, the partnership among Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC), Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) and the Virginia Distillers Association (VDA), which proclaimed September as Virginia Spirits Month, has continued to drive revenue, lifting sales of Virginia distilled spirits by 20 percent over the same period last year and more than doubling sales at distillery stores over the first year.
According to data from Virginia ABC, sales at both ABC stores and distillery stores during September 2018 totaled nearly $1.5 million, representing a 20 percent gain over September 2017. September sales at distillery stores alone grew to more than $640,000, more than doubling sales of just two years ago,when the promotion first began.
“We couldn’t be more excited about consumer response to Virginia Spirits Month and how that support has continued to generate revenue for our distilling industry and our partners – from distillers to restaurants to the commonwealth,” said Gareth H. Moore, VDA President and CEO of Virginia Distillery Company. “At the same time, the increase in distillery store sales – despite store closures during Hurricane Florence – shows that consumers not only value Virginia Spirits, but also want to see where they are produced. This has significant implications for Virginia tourism and is proof positive that ‘Virginia is for Spirits Lovers,’ and our partnership with Virginia ABC and VTC will drive economic benefits for many years to come.”
“Virginia has seen rapid expansion of in-state distilleries – from 10 in 2008 to nearly 70 today with more on the way,” said Virginia ABC Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill. “We are proud to sell Virginia-made spirits and excited to be a part of a burgeoning industry that creates jobs and is a growing part of the commonwealth’s robust agricultural and tourism economies. “
Highlights of the Virginia Spirits Month campaign included:
• “It’s 5 O’clock for 30 Days” promotion driven by 33 “how to make” cocktail videos featuring Virginia spirits used in classic and contemporary cocktails.
• Complimentary “Virginia is for Spirits Lovers” tote bags with any bottle purchase of Virginia spirits at 20 select ABC stores, which sold out by mid-month.
• Virginia ABC placed signage and product displays promoting Virginia spirits and the month-long campaign partnership in its 374 retail outlets throughout the commonwealth.
• A large scale consumer festival, the Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow, kicked off the month-long promotion at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. A second roadshow scheduled at the A. Smith Bowman Distillery for Sept. 15 had to be postponed until Nov. 17 due to Hurricane Florence.