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Municipal liquor stores had a banner 2020, which marked the 25th straight year of record sales.

Altogether they saw net profits of $36 million that year, according to the Office of the State Auditor's most recent annual review, with total sales coming in at $410.6 million.

But which of the state's 213 municipal liquor stores (spread across 179 cities) made out best? It depends which measurement you use. 

Municipal liquor stores in the Twin Cities dominate the top performers if you use raw sales figures, with five reporting sales above $10 million. But if you look at profit margin (total profit divided by the shop's revenue), it's rural municipal liquor stores that come out ahead. 

Here are the top 10, measured both ways.

Top 10 municipal liquor stores by total sales:

  1. Lakeville — $18,262,397
  2. Richfield — $13,262,924
  3. Edina — $12,117,414
  4. Eden Prairie — $11,711,560
  5. Apple Valley — $10,878,589
  6. Detroit Lakes — $8,900,464
  7. Bemidji — $8,423,238
  8. Elk River — $7,927,706 
  9. Hutchinson — $7,667,360
  10. Columbia Heights — $7,585,383

Top 10 municipal liquor stores by profit margin:

  1. Plainview — 62.6% (net profit $460,102 , sales of $735,130)
  2. Fairmont — 16.4% (net profit $759,241, sales of $4,631,500)
  3. Perham — 15.4% (net profit $682,393, sales of $4,434,307 )
  4. Marshall — 15.2% (net profit $1,044,104 , sales of $6,860,252)
  5. Fergus Falls — 14.8% (net profit $1,122,996, sales of $7,569,406)
  6. Detroit Lakes — 14.7% (net profit $1,308,173, sales of $8,900,464)
  7. Monticello — 14.6%  (net profit $1,084,933, sales of $7,405,960)
  8. Pine City — 14.5% (net profit $351,186, sales of $2,417,996 )
  9. Big Lake — 14.4% (net profit $828,634, sales of $5,751,171)
  10. Mora — 13.6% (net profit $602,727, sales of $4,438,807 )

Plainview, it's worth noting, was the only municipal liquor store in the top 10 to have on- and off-sale. And the city opted to sell it in August of 2020 to new owners, one of whom is a resident.

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