Big run on liquor in Utah nets record holiday sales

Dec 1, 2021, 9:00 AM | Updated: 8:56 pm
Justin Robertson, a full-time staffer, stocks the shelves at a state liquor store in Salt Lake City...
Justin Robertson, a full-time staffer, stocks the shelves at a state liquor store in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. Justin Robertson, a full-time staffer, stocks the shelves at a state liquor store in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

Utah liquor sales saw a record jump over the Thanksgiving holiday. From the Friday before Thanksgiving through the following Wednesday, alcohol sales in Utah were $14.3 million, Executive Director of Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Tiffany Clayson said. That equates to a 15% increase, the largest liquor sales of any extended Thanksgiving holiday week.

“The year prior, sales were a little over $12.5 million, so that is definately an increase, and as you know, revenue generated from those sales goes back into community programs that include public safety and education.  Those programs would see the benefit of that revenue,” says Clayson.

During the past year, three new liquor stores were opened in Saratoga Springs, Taylorsville and Farmington.  All three locations saw sales increases. 

Many reasons for the jump in liquor sales

Clayson believes there are several reasons for the recent big jump in sales, including Utah’s population growth. Utah added half a million new residents between 2010 and 2020, showing an 18.4% growth rate which is the fastest in the nation.

Economic growth in general, plus re-openings from COVID-19 closures are also responsible for the holiday spike in sales, especially in the hospitality industry.  She says despite ongoing supply chain issues and worker shortages, liquor stores in Utah managed for the most part, an adequate supply of both inventory and employees.

“Globally there are supply chain issues in the alcoholic beverage industry. We have been working very hard to be very proactive, and to work to mitigate those sort of issues, especially through the very busy holiday season,” according to Clayson.

Personal engagement and customer service

Clayson, who was appointed in January, 2021, recently conducted a tour of some state-run stores to get a personal look at day-to-day operations.  A recent tour of liquor stores in the southern part of the state included DABC commissioners.

“We have a really engaged commission,” says Clayson. “It’s a volunteer job, and they spend a lot of time in that volunteer role, carrying a heavy weight of responsibility with some of the decisions they’re charged with doing.”

Clayson says the DABC is working to become more customer service oriented, engaging not only with Utahns who drink alcoholic beverages, but also with those in the community who do not drink.  She says the DABC works with state officials, business owners and advocacy groups on public health efforts, and involvement in public safety and education initiatives.


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Big run on liquor in Utah nets record holiday sales