Pour a little out for Hennessy. Tito’s Handmade Vodka outpaced the popular cognac brand as the top selling spirit at New Hampshire’s state-run liquor stores in 2018.
Scroll down to see an infographic showing all the top-sellers in New Hampshire.
Hennessy VS (“very special”) cognac had been the top seller as measured by case volume in 2017, thanks in large part to its popularity with bootleggers from other states who buy huge quantities of the liquor in New Hampshire and then resell the product in places like New York.
Those allegations of bootlegging -- and whether or not the New Hampshire Liquor Commission has turned a blind eye to the practice -- prompted an investigation by the state Attorney General's Office and drew the interest of the Internal Revenue Service.
In November, the New Hampshire Department of Justice cleared the Liquor Commission of any wrongdoing in the matter.
That scrutiny doesn’t appear to have greatly harmed sales. According to figures from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, the state Liquor Commission moved 94,147 cases of Hennessy last year across its 79 retail outlets, compared to 96,700 in 2017.
Tito’s, meanwhile, surged to the top spot, with 119,006 cases sold in 2018, compared to 82,863 in 2017.
“The remarkable rise is due to a number of factors, including product quality and the charismatic founder, Tito Beveridge, who has created a product that resonates with consumers,” says E.J. Powers, spokesperson for the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. In 2017, Tito’s became the top-selling spirit in the U.S.
Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey and Absolut Vodka rounded out the top five in the state.
In Maine, Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey edged out Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy, also known as the “Champagne of Maine,” as that state’s top selling spirit in 2018. Fireball is the sixth most popular liquor in New Hampshire by volume, and a favorite aperif of Joseph Mollica, chairman of the New Hampshire Liquor Commission.
Tito’s was the top-selling spirit in Vermont in 2017, outpacing Captain Morgan’s and Jack Daniel’s.
In a testament to New England frugality, Franzia’s Chardonnay offering in a box was the top wine by case volume in New Hampshire last year, while Kendall-Jackson’s Chardonnay offering was the top-selling wine as measured by sales.
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