RD481 - 2015 Annual Report of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC)

Executive Summary:
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is pleased to report that fiscal year 2015 marked yet another record-breaking year for Virginia ABC. Agency operations returned a record $152 million in profits to the Commonwealth, an increase of 8.6 percent over the previous year’s $140 million in profits. In its17th consecutive record-setting year Virginia ABC realized $848.1 million in gross sales, $47.6 million higher than last year. Virginia ABC’s profits combined with state taxes, sales tax, and wine and beer taxes, resulted in an all-time high of $409.3 million transferred to Virginia’s general fund, up $42.4 million from last year.

Virginia ABC launched its redesigned website as one of its most notable achievements this fiscal year. Working with an award-winning national IT management consulting firm in a highly collaborative process, the agency produced a new site that enables Virginia ABC to grow its business, engage with customers and turn information into powerful data assets. Customers may search for stores, determine the availability of products at any ABC store and order distilled spirits online for delivery to the store of their choice.

Also on the digital front, social media played an important role in communicating timely agency news to Virginia ABC’s many diverse stakeholders. The agency engaged more than 6,000 Twitter followers with over 1,000 tweets. Its Facebook page with agency photos and links to industry news attracted 3,300 likes.

Virginia ABC celebrated the opening of its 350th store in Tysons Corner as well as four additional new stores that brought its total number of retail outlets to 351. The Tysons Corner store is the agency’s first Signature Spirits store. Although intimate in size, the 1,000 square foot store carries 700 category-leading spirits in the 750 milliliter size with more than 45 special order items on its shelves.

Virginia ABC also continued to add to its line of premier stores in Williamsburg and Leesburg, opening one in Virginia Beach in December 2014. As with the agency’s other premier retail outlets, the Virginia Beach design reflects the culture and unique characteristics of its location with a coastal theme complete with wave, boardwalk and buoy elements. Product displays in the shape of boats and lighthouses add to the nautical concept and offer customers a truly 21st Century shopping experience. Additionally, with stores around the Commonwealth open from 1 – 6 p.m. on Sundays, total Sunday sales increased by $3.8 million, or 8.4 percent, over fiscal year 2014.

Special agents from the agency’s Bureau of Law Enforcement monitor compliance in licensed establishments statewide. During the fiscal year, ABC special agents conducted 4,881 criminal investigations, made 1,101 arrests, conducted 5,000 inspections of licensed establishments and 3,651 observations of licensed establishments. ABC agents also take an active role in promoting compliance. They trained 1,767 participants in the Responsible Sellers and Servers: Virginia’s Program (RSVP) and 385 participants in the Managers’ Alcohol Responsibility Training (MART) classes statewide this year.

In fiscal year 2015, the Hearings, Appeals and Judicial Services Division received 633 cases for processing and collected $928,500 in civil penalties.

ABC continues to be a leader in alcohol prevention and community education initiatives. The ABC Education and Prevention section expanded agency outreach with the launch of a middle school initiative known as BOLT (Being Outstanding Leaders Together). BOLT works with community coalitions to host regional events focused on providing prevention knowledge to stop underage drug and alcohol use.

In fiscal year 2015, ABC continued to adapt to an ever-changing marketplace. The agency remains committed to the public safety of Virginia’s citizens, providing alcohol education for people of all ages; excellent customer service at each retail location; and effectively managing a business enterprise generating a consistent source of revenue for some of the Commonwealth’s most important programs.