Sales of spirits in Washington state have increased by 15.4% in July 2012 and by 10.7% during the May-July 2012 period, according to the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR).

The increase in sales came as a relief after sales declined by 9.4% in June 2012 and rose 26.6% in May 2012.

In terms of value, the sales crossed $164.8m in the three months period, compared to $138.9m generated a year earlier, whereas in terms of volume, spirits sales totaled 10.6 million litres during May, June and July 2012, as against the sales of 9.5 million litres in the previous year.

Increase in sales in May and July 2012 were primarily due to stocking up of liquors in state liquor stores, bars and restaurants before the implementation of privatisation of liquor sales on 1 June 2012.

The fall of sales in June 2012 was due to piling up of inventories in May 2012, but recovered in July 2012 as consumers consumed their stockpiles.

Sales in restaurants and bars were down in July 2012 by 4.2% because of the 46.7% rise in purchases in May 2012, but consumers purchased 21.1% more spirits in July 2012 after a 3% drop in June 2012.

The average price paid for spirits was up by 16.2% in July 2012, compared to an increase of 17.2% in June 2012, whereas the tax revenue was up 15% to $68m during the three-month period in 2012.

Though the spirits sales have bounced back in July 2012, it is difficult to predict the future sales with the ongoing privatisation of spirits sales under Initiative 1183.