Booze price hike irks Va. consumers, restaurants

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ A move to raise the cost of liquor at Virginia’s beverage control stores is distilling sour spirits from restaurants and bars, as well as consumers. As part of a plan to close a $2.4 billion budget gap, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has directed the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to hike the costs of liquor. The agency has not yet decided how or when it will raise prices but consumers at the state’s 350 liquor stores or restaurants and bars will bear the brunt of the increase. The move comes as Virginia saw record alcohol sales of $801 million in the latest fiscal year. Because sales are controlled by the state, alcohol is already costly. The average price markup is about 69 percent.

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