VANCOUVER, Wash. -

Washington state officials say hard liquor sales have increased since the state privatized them.

The Washington state Department of Revenue reports that spirit sales by volume were 2.9 percent higher from June 1 to September 30, compared with the same four-month period a year ago.

Private liquor sales went into effect June 1 after voters approved an initiative kicking the state out of the liquor business.

The Columbian newspaper reported Tuesday that nearly 13.6 million liters were sold in that four-month period, compared with 13.2 million liters during the same four months in 2011.

Sales to consumers, not businesses, were up 7.9 percent.

The dollar value of those sales also increased to $263 million, up 23 percent from $214 million during the same period last year.