In Good Spirits: Liquor sales up in 2017, distributions were down

liquor display

Your neighbors were in good spirits last year.

Profits from liquor sales in Idaho County last year were at nearly $1.4 million, up 3.8 percent from 2016, according to the 2017 annual report from the Idaho State Liquor Division.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, a total $1,399,659 in profits were reported from the six total contract liquor stores in Idaho County. The largest share of this total (37.6 percent) came from Grangeville, $525,975; followed by Riggins, $306,254 (22 percent); Kooskia $243,519 (17.4 percent); Cottonwood, $148,991 (10.6 percent); White Bird, $94,369 (6.7 percent); and Elk City, $80,551 (5.8 percent).

Last year’s $50,696 increase in profits from 2016 was largely due to increased sales at Cottonwood, which made 63,205 (up 74 percent), and White Bird, which had a 28 percent increase (up $20,573). The remaining three locations saw the following increases: Elk City, 4.4 percent ($3,361); Kooskia, .46 percent ($1,120); and Riggins, .21 percent ($659). Grangeville sales dropped 6.8 percent ($38,219) in 2017.

Despite profits being up, distributions to seven incorporated cities, and Idaho County, in total were down by less than 2 percent ($4,438) from 2016 for a total $235,747 last year.

Two towns saw a decrease in distributions last year. Cottonwood received $8,553 in FY2017, down 41 percent ($6,025), and Kooskia saw 1.7 less ($427) for a total $24,137.

Three towns saw a 6.7 percent increase in distributions for FY17: Ferdinand, $6,275; Stites, $8,668; and White Bird, $3,647. Grangeville received $2,735 more last year (up 5.1 percent) for a total $56,212. Distributions to Riggins went up 1.6 percent ($473) last year for a total $30,422.

Distributions made to cities are placed in their respective general funds to be budgeted in areas as needed.

Idaho County’s budget benefitted from liquor sales, though 2.4 percent less (down $2,362) from 2016, receiving last year a total $97,833.

According to county clerk Kathy Ackerman, liquor distributions are generally used to pay out-of-county tuition for junior college attendees. Approximately $8,500 per year comes from the liquor fund, with the rest of the money going to current expenses. Ackerman added a change for fiscal year 2019 will direct an additional 3 percent to the district court fund.

The Idaho State Liquor Division oversees 170 retail outlets throughout the state that sell distilled spirits. Of those, 65 are state liquor stores, staffed and operated by division employees, and 105 are contract operators. Idaho law provides for the distribution of liquor profits to specific state programs, the general fund and 44 counties and 200 cities. Those state programs that benefit include drug, mental health and family court services fund, substance abuse treatment fund, community colleges and public schools. Of total distributions, 50 percent are distributed to counties (receive 40 percent) and incorporated cities (60 percent).

The division’s 2017 full report is available online: https://liquor.idaho.gov/pdf/annual-reports/AnnualReport2017.pdf.

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