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Iowans & Alcohol

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- It's taken a while for Walter Pecile to get to where he is now. As an alcohol distributor in the state of Iowa, he's thriving - especially when it comes to wine.

We see that the consumer is getting more educated in wines, the demand from their end is bigger, Pecile said.

In fact, the alcohol industry in the state as a whole is thriving. Total spirit sales totaled a record $256 million in fiscal year 2013. The state hasn't seen sales that high since 1988. Pecile says just last week he had near record sales.

In the past, wine used to be just for a small group of people, right now wine is for everybody, he said.

But has the industry reached its fullest potential? Pecile says as good as alcohol sales are now in the state of Iowa, in the future they have the potential to be even bigger.

Pecile says it's all about diversifying the palette.

Still a lot of work to do to improve the taste of the consumer, he said. 

More diverse products he says will expand the industry further, creating even more profits, but he says we must still make sure we don't go too far.

Right now, 19 million dollars of alcohol revenue goes to state substance abuse programs. Pecile says he's a big supporter of that, as causing dependency was never his goal when he got into the industry.

I want to sell a bottle of wine for somebody to have a glass, or eventually two, not for them to get drunk and not know what they're doing.

In addition to that $19 million used for substance abuse programs, the state says that more than 3 1/2 million was used to support local programs.
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