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Utah Liquor Stores Set Records In Sales

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As Utahn’s rung in the new year many did so with a drink in hand. A confluence of economic and population growth made it so Utahns spent more money on alcohol to end the year than ever before.

Terry Wood, Director of Communications at the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control reports that the five retail days leading up to New Years, Utah State Liquor stores had $11.5 million in sales. That’s nearly one million dollars more than last year an increase of 9.3%.

“The five days our stores were open leading up to New Years were just astounding as far as the sales went.” Wood said, “We set a record New Years Eve of $3,449,261. New Years Eve we closed all the stores at 7:00 pm, many of our stores stay open until 10, but all stores were closed at 7:00 pm. That made for a shorter sales day. The Saturday before Christmas Eve we set a record that day too with $3.8 million in sales and that’s an all-time one-day record.”

From December 17th to the end of 2018, Utah State Liquor stores had over $29 million in sales. Wood says that the DABC has grown along with the state.

“Our sales have been increasing over the last few years at a tremendous rate themselves.” Wood explained, “A lot of that is due to the movement into the state of Utah of other businesses and people. Plus, a lot of the ski industry business and the convention business our sales are just shot-high. As fast as Utah’s growing is pretty much as fast as our sales are growing too.”

The DABC reported that in 2018 they sold nearly 3,000 bottles less on their last retail day before New Years than the same day in 2017. Despite a dip in number of bottles sold, state liquor stores saw an increase in profit of over $50,000. Wood explains the statistical anomaly.

“More expensive bottles are being bought across the board in Utah State Liquor stores.” Wood continued, “The economy is good, and people seem to have a little bit more money so they’re spending money on higher end items. In the month of December, the champagne Veuve Clicquot had been on sale. December is a big time for champagne sales so even though there may have been fewer bottles sold the amount of money spent on those bottles would send those numbers higher. So that’s one aspect of it, the fact that Veuve Clicquot a roughly $50 bottle of champagne was on sale during the month of December.”

Wood says that the Park City area contributed to the higher sales.

“We have been able to determine that a lot of those Veuve Clicquot sales came from the Park City area.” Wood said, “People in the Park City area are spending more on their alcoholic beverages than people in some of the other areas in the state.”

The DABC’s fiscal year ends in the summer, Wood reports the organization had $453 million in sales last year. He explains where all that money goes.

“We give 10 percent of that amount to the school lunch fund at the state.” Wood explained, “So, they got almost $44 million. Then we give another one percent to the Department of Public Safety for the enforcement of alcohol laws, so they got $4.4 million themselves. We also put some of the money into our education program such as Parents Empowered who partner with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard association in Park City to help keep underaged people from drinking. We put the rest into the general fund once the expenses for the agencies have been subtracted. So, the state general fund in the last fiscal years got about $113 million.”

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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