Municipal liquor stores in Minnesota saw yet another record year of increased profitability in 2017, the year when Sunday sales took effect, according to a state report released Thursday.
Municipal liquor sales for last year statewide were up from 2016 by $4.5 million and totaled nearly $349 million, according to the State Auditor’s Office. That represents a 1.3 percent increase.
Among the 190 Minnesota cities with munis, as they are called, Lakeville led the way with $14.6 million in sales, the report showed.
The next six spots also were Twin Cities suburbs: Edina ($12.99 million); Richfield ($11.35 million); Eden Prairie ($10.5 million): Apple Valley ($9.18 million); Columbia Heights ($8.42 million); and Elk River ($6.95 million).
Profit margins in those cities ranged from Elk River’s 13.9 percent to Columbia Heights’ 4.3 percent.
Last year saw the introduction of Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota, which began on July 1. The report did not address how that change in the law affected municipal liquor operations financially.
Statewide, net profits increased year over year by 1.3 percent for all munis combined, to $23.1 million. That reverses the direction from 2016, when year-over-year profits fell by 8.4 percent.
There were 54 cities reporting net losses in 2017, nine more than 2016. All but one, in Savage, were located outside the Twin Cities area. Those results were nearly identical to 2016.
Minnesota municipalities were originally authorized to own and operate liquor establishments as a means of controlling the sale of alcohol.
For many communities outside the Twin Cities area, these operations provide access and convenience in areas that might be unable to attract a privately run establishment.
For metro municipalities, operating liquor stores generates money to supplement traditional revenue from taxes and fees.