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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Sales of some things are down in this economy. Alcohol is not one of them.

A new report from the NC Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission reveals a rise in alcohol sales across the state.

Liquor, beer and wine. It’s all a cash cow for the state.

From July 2010 until June 2011, North Carolina raked in more than $746 million in alcohol sales. That’s a nearly three-percent increase over the previous year.

Helping add to that increase: New Hanover County. The smallest county in the state brought in $31,566,000.

“It’s not surprising,” Tim Smith said while sitting a Wilmington bar Tuesday afternoon. “With the amount of DUI-cycles you see running around on the roads and there’s a couple colleges in town, there’s a lot of college kids going out.”

Out of 100 counties, New Hanover falls fifth in alcohol sales behind Mecklenberg, Wake, Guilford and Forsyth.

“The first reaction is wow, but when you really think about it, it’s a transit military town with Jacksonville not too far away and then you have the university,” bar patron Brandon Johnson said. “This is a place known for tourism and nightlife, so when you think about it the numbers aren’t surprising compared to other places.”

New Hanover County ABC Board CEO Dan Sykes agrees.

“We have a lot of good restaurants. People come from all around really to visit downtown. They like the beaches, so it’s a big drawing card,” Sykes said.

The report also shows sales in New Hanover County went up 3.6 percent. These numbers encompass everything from sales at ABC stores, bars, restaurants and convenience stores.

“It’s about 30 percent for bars, restaurants, hotels and, of course, the other 70 percent is from ABC stores,” Sykes said.

And so far this year, sales are forecast to shoot up even more when the numbers are tallied again next summer.

The report also showed that ten North Carolina establishments either permanently or temporarily lost their ABC permits last year. Two of those included bars in Wilmington: The Rhino Club and Club 609.

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7 Comments on "Bottoms up! New Hanover booze sales fifth highest in state"

2015 years 10 months ago

that’s precisely how this data should be interpreted. also, a large contributor to these sales would have to be the brunswick co. residents that are completely under served with regard to bars & “good” restaurants.

2015 years 10 months ago

NHC is the smallest county in the state, by size. Not Population, NHC is in the top 10 by population. Add that to our tourist industry and UNC-W this is not a surprise.

2015 years 10 months ago


2015 years 10 months ago

woohoo! I’ll drink to that story! Vodka/Redbull down the hatch!

2015 years 10 months ago

What a mentality. A shame that some must stay pickled in alcohol to cope with life.

2015 years 10 months ago

When the economy heads South, the sin stocks take off. Manufacturers of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes always climb during hard times. Folks might not have enough to pay the bills but they ALWAYS have enough for a beer and a smoke.

2015 years 10 months ago

What else is there to do in Wilmywood? Drink, drive, crash, mahem, kill. Go downtown get drunk cause a disturbance. Rob some poor drunk tour-rat. Rob a convient store. The jail won’t take you (they don’t take drunks). The hospital has to take you (they can’t deny you) so they have to babysit you. Then when you do have an emergency you’ll have to wait for some drunk idiot to sober up. Way to go America!!


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