SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — In March of 2020 when the COVID-19 outbreak hit America, many businesses were affected negatively but the alcohol industry, at least in Iowa, looks to be booming.

For the first time in Iowa, liquor sales topped $400 million for the fiscal year 2021. The annual report released last week by the Alcoholic Beverages Division shows record-high sales two years in a row, but that this year’s sales were 13% higher than 2020.

The report also showed Iowans continue to enjoy Black Velvet whiskey as it ranked #1 for most popular brand for the tenth straight year. Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Captain Morgan were second and third respectively.

Executive officer at the ABD, Jake Holmes, says the increases are most likely pandemic-related and that distributors have been able to overcome supply chain issues such as aluminum bottle shortages.

“When some of the bars are back open, we didn’t have bottles for them and that didn’t help either but everything’s getting back to normal with inventories now and things are starting to pick up now so that’s why sales of alcohol are really going good now,” said Premier Glazer’s Beer & Beverage district sales manager Dan Callahan.

Bars and restaurants have taken the brunt of the pandemic’s impact with many still not getting back to the profits they enjoyed in 2019, but it has opened doors for folks like Tom Hudson who started Beer on Floyd with his wife eight months ago after seeing alcohol sales spike in 2020. He gave his biggest reason as to why Iowa’s seen such a dramatic rise.

“Hey, I don’t have to go to the bars to go drinking, and even on the social scene, I think folks are even joining and taking turns at each others’ homes. I hear that a lot in this business,” said Hudson.

The fiscal year 2022’s liquor sales already show an increase of 5.2% through last month, indicating this recent trend may not be coming to an end anytime soon.