Alcohol sales in Utah have increased by $20.4 million since last year, according to data released by the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
The increase isn’t unusual, said Vickie Ashby a department spokeswoman, but it does show consumers are spending more since the recession.
Year-to-date retail sales have increased 5.88 percent, from $346 million in 2013, to $367 million in 2014, according to data the department released last week. “People are back to buying more expensive products,” Ashby said, citing the growing popularity of craft beer and whiskey.
Under Utah’s liquor laws, most alcohol can only be purchased from one of its 41 state liquor stores, a licensed bar or restaurant, or a packing agency, some of which are located at hotels or resorts. Beer, however, is legal to purchase from supermarkets and convenience stores as long as has less than 3.2 percent alcohol content by weight. Utah also prohibits the sale of alcohol at restaurants unless a customer has also ordered food, unless the restaurant has a “club license.”
The increase in sales for more expensive products is also happening nationwide, said Jim Sgueo, president and CEO of the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association. “While we’re not selling more, we’re selling more expensive product,” he said.