As 2021 winds down, one thing can be said with certainty: we drank a LOT of hooch this year. Oh, and we broke some records too. Is that something to be proud of? I would argue it's not, but it makes for an interesting snapshot of our life during the pandemic. To dig into these numbers, I used the ABD annual report. ABD is the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.

And you thought we purchased a lot of alcohol in 2020...

This report covers the fiscal year of 2021, which is July 1 2021 through June 30, 2021, claims Iowans liquor purchases went up by 13.2% over 2020, which was also a popular alcohol year, largely due to COVID. Iowans spent more than $415.8 million on alcohol this physical year, according to the report.

In 2020, beer and wine sales dipped a bit, but they roared back in 2021. Sales for each jumped massively by about 93%. But what we bought more of than any other food was whiskey, with vodka a close second.

If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol, please visit Your Life Iowa or you can call (855) 581-8111 or text (855) 895-8398

Our fav. booze brands are...

Iowa had another year where our favorites were reinforced. Our top 5 selling booze brands were:

  1. Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey (#1 since 1999)
  2. Tito's Handmade Vodka
  3. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
  4. Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
  5. Hawkeye Vodka

(See Iowa brands below)

Tito's, an Iowa favorite. Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash
Tito's, an Iowa favorite. Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

The top Iowa brands sold in 2021 (by the gallon) were:

  1. Blue Ox Vodka
  2. Cedar Ridge Bourbon
  3. Gotcha Vodka
  4. Swell Vodka
  5. Prairie Fire

So what counties sold the most alcohol? The Iowa ABD's map shows sales by class "E" liquor licenses. That is essentially any non-bar. Think liquor or convenience store.


Sales wise that equals:

  1. Polk — $94,596,457
  2. Linn — $35,443,565
  3. Scott — $30,658,413
  4. Johnson — $24,223,459
  5. Black Hawk — $22,597,679

The top 5 for gallons sold are:

  1. Polk — 1,345,882
  2. Linn — 558,993
  3. Scott — 460,460
  4. Johnson — 354,771
  5. Black Hawk — 342,844

Remember as always, please drink responsibly!

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