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Park City extends lease for Swede Alley liquor store

Inside the state liquor store on Swede Alley in Park City, located below KPCW studios.
Parker Malatesta
Inside the state liquor store on Swede Alley in Park City, located below KPCW studios.

Despite staffing and financial concerns, the state liquor store on Swede Alley in Park City plans to stay in operation, largely thanks to a cheap lease.

The new lease approved by the Park City Council Friday runs through June 2026, and has an optional two-year extension to June 2028.

Park City is leasing the prime location at 460 Swede Alley for $7 per square foot, a bargain for the Old Town commercial district. For comparison, a current listing for a Main Street retail space is priced at $67 per square foot.

Park City Manager Matt Dias said without the subsidized lease, the state would close the liquor store located below KPCW studios.

“This is a partnership between a community and the state, but for that, the liquor store wouldn’t be there,” Dias said. “The volume isn’t enough. They have trouble staffing it. There’s a myriad of reasons that it’s not a preferable location. There’s not a return on investment, but fortunately, we have a very strong relationship, and it’s important to the business district, and so the state is accommodating.”

The liquor store is directly below KPCW headquarters.
Parker Malatesta
The liquor store is directly below KPCW headquarters.

The Swede Alley location recorded $2.7 million in sales in 2023. That’s far behind the state liquor store in Snow Creek Plaza, which had more than $21 million in sales last year, ranking fourth statewide.

Utah is one of 17 states that control liquor sales. The Utah Legislature established what is now the Department of Alcoholic Services (DABS) in 1935. The agency is charged with issuing business licenses to bars and restaurants, along with running the network of liquor stores throughout the state. Utah grocery stores are allowed to sell beer up to 5% alcohol by volume.

DABS records show the top selling alcohol product in 2023 was Tito’s Vodka. That was followed by Patron Silver Tequila and Crown Royal Peach whisky, which jumped 79 spots in the rankings.

For sales of Utah made spirits, Park City-based High West Distillery accounted for four of the top 10 selling products, with High West’s standard bourbon leading the way.