OH: Ohio expects record $1 billion in liquor sales, boosted by old-fashioned holiday cocktails
By Sara Dorn
November 24, 2015
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — Complicated cocktails — Moscow Mules, French 75s, Manhattans and Martinis — are back, and they’re giving liquor sales a big boost, especially during the holiday season.
“All the Prohibition-style drinks are coming back,” said Mark Zkiab co-owner of Simone’s Beverage in Lakewood. “Right now we have at least 20 kinds of bitters.”
The mixology trend is contributing to what the Ohio Department of Commerce expects to be a record year for liquor sales: $1 billion once the holiday season is over.
Sales were at $982 million by mid-August. November and December are the busiest months for liquor sales in Ohio, and make up 20 percent of annual sales of spiritous alcohol, which means liquor 42 proof and higher. Ohio has 466 agencies licensed to sell the heavy stuff, with 61 in Cuyahoga County.
Zagara’s Marketplace in Cleveland Heights is selling a lot of single malt scotch, flavored vodka, sipping rums and spiced bourbon, specifically Cleveland Whiskey’s Christmas Bourbon this time of the year, according to President John Zagara.
He said the cocktail trend is partly driven by movies, like the new James Bond rendition, “Spectre.” In it, actor Daniel Craig trades James Bond’s classic vodka martini with a twist of lemon for a dirty martini. Belvedere Vodka has even partnered with the film to offer three 007-branded bottles of vodka and a cocktail shaker.
Gift sets — a box of Maker’s Mark and Makers 46 or a bottle of Basil Hayden with a copper shaker — also fly off the shelves at Zagara’s. The store has sold through about half of its stock.