Virginia: Private liquor taxes to soar

on 28/09/10 at 8:39 pm


Salem resident Allen Key knows his liquor.

He has the gravelly voice that’s testament to 45 years of drinking the hard stuff.

Key, 61, worked for decades in lumber and steel. He jokes that he decided it was time to put all his drinking experience to more profitable use. So he went into the booze business.

He’s a proud co-owner and president of the recently incorporated Hammer Family Distillery, based in downtown Roanoke. Its products are produced in (no kidding) Temperance, Mich.

Hammer Family Distillery has two libations on the market. One is a 100-proof grape “liqueur” called P&J that’s essentially grain alcohol diluted with sweet flavoring. The other is an 80-proof mango-flavored tequila, Dulces Suenos.

Both will get you hammered, no doubt about it. They’re not yet on the shelves of your neighborhood ABC store.

Key called me about Gov. Bob McDonnell’s plan to sell state liquor stores to private operators.

“I have no dog in this fight at all,” Key said. “But they can’t make as much money off [privatization] as they can by being a monopoly — unless the price of liquor goes through the roof.”

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