In September, the final month of the fiscal year, the State Department spent about $180,000 — and racked up a total of more than $400,000 for the whole year, three times the entire liquor tab for all of 2008.
The liquor bill, split among purchase orders placed at embassies around the world, included some major last-minute pre-shutdown splurges:
• $5,625 in “gratuity wine” at the embassy in Rio de Janeiro on Sept. 29, followed by $5,925 in “gratuity whiskey” on the day the shutdown began.
• $22,416 in wine at the embassy in Tokyo.
• $15,900 in bourbon and whiskey in Moscow.
U.S. embassies have long served alcohol at diplomatic events under Democratic and Republican administrations alike — and in good economic times as well as bad.
But the booze bill has risen sharply each year since 2008, according to the federal government’s procurement database, which includes a specific code enabling the public to track alcoholic beverage purchase orders.
Those records show the State Department bought $415,000 worth of alcohol in fiscal 2012, which was 25 percent more than the $331,000 spent in 2011 and more than triple the $118,000 spent in 2008.
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