WARREN - Ohioans enjoy their liquor.
For at least the 12th year in a row, the Buckeye State lifted its glasses enough to set a sales record - $849 million worth in 2012, according to numbers released recently by the Division of Liquor Control in the Ohio Department of Commerce.
The rise in sales indicates consumer tastes are ''becoming more sophisticated,'' and Ohioans are buying a better grade of liquor, ''more premium products,'' David Goodman, Commerce Department director, states in a news release.
Better product selection and improved inventory management also factored in the 7 percent increase, which equals a $55.3 million eclipse of last year's total.
There are also signs that Ohioans are again going to restaurants and drinking more at bars. For the second straight year, wholesale growth was strong.
Wholesale dollars sales grew to $257.8 million, up 5.7 percent from 2011, according to numbers from the state.
Top 10 in Ohio
2012, by gallons sold:
Kamchatka Vodka - 364,914
Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey - 355,068
Bacardi Superior Light Rum - 387,378
Absolut Vodka - 281,898
Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey - 281,295
Captain Morgan Spiced Rum - 279,512
Smirnoff Vodka - 271,204
Jagermeister - 256,526
Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey - 231,888
Ohioans also are creatures of habit when it comes to their favorite brands.
Kamchatka Vodka, Jack Daniels Tennessee Whisky and Bacardi Superior Light Rum, for at least the second consecutive year, top the 10 best-selling brands. All of this year's top 10 were in the top 10 last year.
Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, 279,512 gallons of which was consumed, was the biggest loser, falling two spots from number four in 20011 to number six in 2012.
Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey was the biggest gainer, moving up two spots from number seven to number five. Ohioans drank 281,295 of the Canadian whiskey.
Absolut Vodka, 281,989 gallons of which was consumed, moved up a spot to number four in 2012 and Smirnoff Vodka dropped one spot, from six in 2011 to seven in 2012.
Jagermeister stayed at number eight with 256,526 gallons sold, but there was a flip-flop in the ninth and tenth positions. Black Velvet Canadian Whiskey, number 10 last year, improved one spot and Korski Vodka, fell from nine to 10.