Alcohol sales in Utah continue to break records

Sales of spirits, wine and higher-alcohol beer in hit $517 million in fiscal year 2020-21.

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Utah continues to break records when it comes to the sale of wine, beer and spirits.

Alcohol sales at state-run liquor stores reached more than $517 million during fiscal 2020-21 (which ended June 30), according to numbers presented this week to the state liquor commission.

That is an increase of 3.4%, or $17.1 million, above the previous year — when sales topped $500 million for the first time in state history.

The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control doesn’t keep all the money, said DABC finance director Sean Willford. After it pays expenses — including employee wages and benefits — the agency will transfer more than $121 million to the general fund to be used for other state needs.

Willford said there are several factors contribute to the revenue increase including more people moving into the state, the return of tourism after the pandemic shutdown and the opening of new liquor stores in Herriman, Saratoga Springs, Farmington and Taylorsville.

In addition to overall revenue, the DABC also tallied the number of bottles sold, which dropped to 43.7 million. That’s a 9.5% decrease from the previous fiscal year.

While fewer bottles are being sold, the average bottle price shot up by more than a dollar to $11.83. This year’s average bottle price was 14.37% higher than the prior year’s $10.34 average.