When you buy your Jack Daniels, WhistlePig or Kahlua in Vermont, you’re actually buying it from the state’s Department of Liquor Control. The department licenses 80 agents across the state to sell its liquor, in exchange for a commission on each sale.
Ken Picard’s story dives into the byzantine business of liquor control and explores whether it makes sense for the state to be involved in hard alcohol sales; wine and beer aren’t so tightly regulated. As part of that investigation, Seven Days decided to find out which types of alcohol the liquor outlets were actually selling, and how much cash they raked in each year.
It wasn’t too surprising that Winooski’s Beverage Warehouse turned out to be the top liquor seller in the state last year, with nearly $4 million in sales. Pearl Street Beverage in Burlington came up second, and Beverage Baron in Barre ranked third. More fascinating, though, was each store’s breakdown of best-selling booze. Who knew Dr. McGillicuddy's Fireball was such a hot item? Or that so many people bought those small, 0.05-liter bottles called “nips?”
No doubt you’ll notice interesting things, too, so go ahead and explore this map, which shows sales and most popular bottles at each of Vermont’s liquor outlets.
View the data here.