Liquor sales were up statewide in 2010, but not in Kent.
The Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control reported that sales of spirituous liquor at state liquor stores set a record in 2010 with a total of $753.7 million in sales across Ohio. Last year broke the previous record, set in 2009, by $19 million. Like 2010, the 2009 sales also broke a record that had been set just one year earlier, in 2008.
Though sales are up statewide, that's not the case for Kent's only state liquor store: TLC Liquor on West Main Street.
Jeff Ewart, manager at TLC Liquor, said sales have dropped recently. He attributes the drop in part to the economy and the opening of state liquor stores nearby in neighboring Stow and Brimfield Township.
"The business is just getting spread out, so to speak," Ewart said.
One local statistic that does follow the state numbers is the No. 2-selling liquor in Ohio — Jack Daniel's whiskey products. Ewart has seen an increase in Jack Daniel's sales, but he credits that with a sale on the whiskey passed on to retailers by the manufacturer.
"They have a temporary price reduction through the holidays mostly, November, December and now January," Ewart said. "It definitely increased the sales."
Ohioans bought 342,840 gallons of Jack Daniel's last year, according to the state department of commerce, which released its liquor sales figures last week.
The state liquor control division reported only Kamchatka Vodka outsold Jack Daniel's last year. Ohioans bought 408,277 gallons of Kamchatka, a difference of 65,437 gallons.
That figure, too, surprised Ewart, who said Kamchatka is a dying brand among his customer base, which is largely dominated by students at Kent State University.