Ontario's Liquor Control Board had a nearly nine per cent rise in profits this year as consumers buoyed by a recovering economy began buying premium products once again.

The government-owned LCBO posted a net income of $1.6 billion in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, while sales rose almost six per cent to $4.6 billion. It transferred $1.6 billion to the government.

CEO Bob Peter says sales rose as formerly weary consumers splurged on higher-end products.

Good expense control and promotions also contributed to the boost.

Sales of Ontario VQA wines rose almost 15 per cent while local craft beers were up almost 53 per cent.

Vintages, the LCBO's fine wine and premium spirits section, had sales of $383.7 million, up 15 per cent.

Staff challenged almost 3.6 million people who appeared underage or intoxicated over the year, up almost 35 per cent from 2009-10.

Almost 193,000 customers were refused service, and 82 per cent of those refusals were due to age.