Sales at Utah liquor stores have been climbing steadily for years, and they’re set to break records again for 2016.
The holidays are generally the busiest time for Utah’s liquor stores. On the most active days, administrative staff at the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) often leave their central headquarters to help out at liquor stores across the Salt Lake Valley.
“We bag, and we stock shelves and everything else,” says Terry Wood, the DABC’s public information officer.
“It’s got quite a crowd in there and we try to keep it moving through as fast as possible,” Wood says.
Though DABC officials say it does get busy in the days leading up to Christmas, the busiest day is generally the day before Thanksgiving. That was true this year, when sales reached nearly $3.4 million on that single Wednesday—almost 5% higher than the same day in 2015.
For the first time, annual sales broke $400 million during the DABC’s 2016 fiscal year.
“The population of Utah is increasing,” Wood says, “but so is the per-person average consumption of alcoholic spirits. That has increased in the last couple of years.”
A study released last month listed several communities that could use liquor stores, including Riverton, Layton and Pleasant Grove. A new state liquor store in West Valley City is under construction and set to open in 2017.