Booze generates millions for Utah economy, study says

First Published      Last Updated Dec 05 2013 08:55 pm

Eighty years ago, today — on Dec. 5, 1933 — Utah became the 36th and deciding state to ratify the 21st amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ending prohibition and allowing liquor to flow legally across the country.

To mark the occasion, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) took a look at how liquor affects Utah's current economy.

The total economic impact is $658 million, according to the analysis prepared by New York-based John Dunham & Associates.

The industry also provides 3,210 Utah jobs and generates $131 million in taxes, the report said.

"The 21st Amendment paved the way for the creation of the modern three-tier beverage alcohol regulatory system that today delivers the widest variety of products available to consumers anywhere in the world in a manner that is safe, well-regulated, and ensures reliable revenue streams for the states and federal government," WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf said in a news release.

Wolf pointed out that even today in Europe, Asia and Latin America, consumers regularly suffer because of unsafe, adulterated or counterfeit beverage alcohol. He said these issues are non-existent in the United States largely because of the regulatory framework enacted by the states and federal government under the 21st Amendment.

WSWA is the national trade association representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry. Members distribute more than 70 percent of all wines and spirits sold at wholesale in the United States. About 30 Utahns work in liquor wholesaler firms.