weather icon Clear

Utah sets alcohol-sales record ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s state-owned liquor stores set a record ahead of Thanksgiving as people lined up to grab last-minute wine, beer and spirits, officials said Friday.

Sales hit nearly $3.4 million on Wednesday, the day before the holiday and traditionally the biggest sales day of the year, according to the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

That’s a nearly 5 percent increase over the same day last year.

The increasing sales numbers at the state’s 44 stores can be attributed to overall population growth, Wood said, including many people moving in from outside the state that’s home to the Mormon church, which teaches its members to avoid alcohol.

Sales were down a bit in the ski town of Park City amid lackluster snow totals, Wood said. But elsewhere in Utah, officials anticipating big crowds put all hands on deck in the stores and checked identification so cashiers wouldn’t have to pause as people paid for their purchases, Wood said.

At particularly crowded stores, officials also limited the number of customers inside the building at one time.

Total sales in the five days before the holiday topped $10.6 million, a 4 percent increase. The revenue bumps are in line with state trends: Last year Utah liquor stores also a set a record on the day before Thanksgiving.

The number of individual bottles of alcohol sold grew about 1.5 percent. The slower unit growth paired with higher sales figures reflects people spending more on individual bottles, like larger packages of liquor or generally costlier craft beers.

Utah requires residents to purchase products with more than 4 percent alcohol by volume at state-controlled outlets. Liquor is big business for the state and generates about $400 million in annual sales.

Beer with lower alcohol content is available at private grocery stores.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Infighting prompts NRA’s top lobbyist to resign

The National Rifle Association’s top lobbyist resigned Wednesday, the latest development in a dizzying array of in-fighting within the gun lobbying group in recent months that has ensnared even its most ardent loyalists.

Wayfair workers protest the company’s contract with migrant detention center

Employees at online home furnishings retailer Wayfair planned a walkout Wednesday to protest the company’s decision to sell $200,000 worth of furniture to a government contractor that runs a detention center for migrant children in Texas.

Graves of American WWII servicemen found on remote Pacific island

A nonprofit organization that searches for the remains of U.S. servicemen lost in past conflicts has found what officials believe are the graves of more than 30 Marines and sailors killed in one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.

Kremlin confirms Trump-Putin ‘sidelines’ meeting at G-20

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of an international summit in Japan, the Kremlin said Wednesday, in talks that come amid bitter differences.

2 more deputies fired for response to Parkland shooting

Two additional deputies have been fired as a result of an internal affairs investigation into the agency’s response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that killed 17 people, the Broward County sheriff said Wednesday.