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Here are the changes Utah’s alcohol regulators want to make

Besides a name change, DABS looks to improve its IT infrastructure and hire more employees.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Utah state liquor store at 5432 W. High Market Drive in West Valley City, which opened in February 2022. The Utah Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, which will change its name on June 1, 2022, issued its first multi-year strategic plan on May 10, 2022.

Utah’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Control — which is changing its name in June — has released its first multi-year strategic plan, aimed at improving outdated systems and employee attrition at the state’s liquor stores.

The DABC — which will become the Department of Alcohol Beverage Services on June 1, after a change passed by the Utah Legislature — released the plan Tuesday, laying out goals to improve the state’s booze-regulating agency in five areas: infrastructure, workforce, transparency in operations, customer service, and prevention of underage drinking and overconsumption.

Consumers may notice the biggest changes at state liquor stores, as plans for an IT overhaul are put in place to improve ordering and purchasing of alcohol. The agency also has plans to expand its workforce, and to give those workers more training. DABS will also survey customers about whether they’re finding what they want and need.

Here are some of the upcoming changes proposed, according to the strategic plan:

• Overhauling the agency’s entire IT infrastructure, which will allow liquor license applications, license renewals, payments, files and audits to be submitted online.

• Equipping state liquor stores with WiFi and digital payment systems, and will update its software for tracking warehouse inventory for specific items.

• Constructing a new warehouse to accommodate increased demand at state liquor stores.

• Increasing employee wages to match those in similar industries; add in-depth training for store supervisors; make annual check-ins with employees to ask about job satisfaction, and gather feedback.

• Providing greater transparency with the public and licensees through newsletters, public listening tours, and new quarterly meetings.

• Conducting surveys with bars, restaurants and other businesses about transparency of communication.

• Conducting surveys to see if people are finding what they need and want at state liquor stores.

• Providing better training for workers in state liquor stores, so that they’re educated about what the store carries, as well as current liquor laws.

• Working in a closer and more coordinated way with the State Bureau of Investigation to enforce laws around underage drinking, overconsumption and irresponsible drinking.

• Strengthening partnerships with outside groups, such as the Alcohol Abuse Tracking Committee (AATC).

• Tracking the bars and restaurants that pass inspections, to recognize and reward them.

• Tracking noncompliant bars and restaurants to keep tabs on repeat offenders.

• Giving bars and restaurants training manuals so that they can better stay in compliance with liquor laws.

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