News & Politics

Virginians Bought a Lot More Tequila in the Second Half of 2020

ABC sales from July to December were up 15 percent over the year before.

Soon. Photograph by camaralenta/iStock.

Virginians bought considerably more liquor in the second half of 2020 than they did during the same period of 2019. That’s according to figures Washingtonian obtained from the commonwealth’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, which show statewide sales of spirits were up 15 percent over 2019 from July to December of the worst year in recent history.

The following categories of spirits showed notable gains in the second half of 2020:

• The fashionable category of bottled-in-bond whiskey was up a walloping 482 percent over 2019: Virginians spent more than half a million dollars on the stuff in the second half of last year, as opposed to about $87,000 in the same period in 2019.

• The Cognac/Armagnac category was up 46 percent, with more than $50 million in sales, as opposed to $34 million in 2019.

• Tequila was another big winner in lockdown with sales up 43 percent over the previous year (nearly $80 million compared to about $56 million)

• Blended whiskey was another big gainer, with sales up about 32 percent.

In what’s potentially a good outcome for tranquillity of life in the Old Dominion, corn whiskey sales actually fell in 2020, from $86,004 to $69,084, though moonshine sales were up 15 percent. Gin and vodka made gains, though they weren’t nearly as exciting as in other categories: a nearly 6 percent gain for gin and a 4 percent gain for vodka. Vodka was by far the biggest category of sales, though, accounting for nearly $140 million in sales statewide.

Correction: The earlier version of this post relied on an incorrect formula for calculating percentage changes in some instances. 

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.