APPLE VALLEY (WJON News) -- Profits for municipal liquor stores in Minnesota went down overall in 2022.

The Minnesota State Auditor's Office released its annual Municipal Liquor Store Report Wednesday.

They say while sales continued to rise, increased operating costs drove down net profits.

Overall, municipal liquor store net profits were down 26 percent between 2021 and 2022.  Net profits for on-sale stores decreased by 43 percent, and off-sale stores net profits decreased by 22 percent.

Thirty-one cities reported losses in 2022, compared to 18 in 2021.  Twenty-seven of the 31 cities were in Greater Minnesota.

Sauk Rapids reported a loss of just over $66,000 and Holdingford had a loss of just over $500.

Sauk Rapids Finance Director Jack Kahlhamer says the loss on the books is because of a property transaction, not sales.  He says the city had property near Highway 10 where it planned to open a second municipal liquor store and when they moved that property over to the Economic Development Authority to market it, it showed up as a loss on the books for the liquor store.

Kahlhamer says the actual liquor store made a net profit of $226,000 in 2022.  In 2021 it made $250,000, so the net profit was down in 2022 but only slightly.

State law requires cities whose liquor operations show a net loss in at least two of the past three years to hold a public hearing to determine whether to continue liquor operations.  Holdingford is among 14 cities required to hold a hearing.

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Some central Minnesota municipal liquor stores reporting a profit in 2022 include Gilman at $56,000, Long Prairie at $184,000, Browerville at $14,000, and Paynesville at $14,500.

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