Incoming Gov. Spencer Cox picks political insider to head up Utah’s alcohol agency

Tiffany Clason, who worked Rep. Ben McAdams and Gov. Gary Herbert, would oversee the DABC.

Tiffany Clason — the district director for just-defeated Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, and also a former aide to outgoing Republican Gov. Gary Herbert — was nominated Friday to lead the state’s alcohol agency.

Gov.-elect Spencer Cox has selected Clason to be the new executive director of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Her appointment will require confirmation by the Utah Senate.

“Tiffany’s exceptional track record of success in the food and beverage industry as well as her dedicated public service make her a perfect choice to lead the DABC,” Cox said. “This position requires skill in meeting both retail demands and understanding the complexities of alcohol policy. I’m confident Tiffany will do an outstanding job in both arenas for the people of Utah.”

If confirmed, Clason will succeed Sal Petilos, who is retiring from public service after overseeing the DABC for 8½ years. During his tenure, the agency’s ordering and inventory system has been streamlined; it has added several new liquor stores along the Wasatch Front with more in the works; and it has shepherded the state’s long-awaited move of stronger beer into grocery and convenience stores.

Clason’s online resume says that she worked in 2006 and 2007 for La Brea Bakery in London, where she helped launch a line of high-end artisan bread. She developed training programs for the company and led advertising and marketing campaigns.

Cox also noted that Clason has more than 12 years of government experience, working for both Republicans and Democrats.

Most recently, she was Democrat McAdams’ district director during his House term and was his community engagement and outreach manager during his last year as Salt Lake County mayor.

Clason was also services director for Herbert in 2014 and 2015, and an aide to former Sen. David Vitter, R-La., for eight years.

Clason does drink alcoholic beverages, which has sometimes been an issue in Utah about whether DABC directors and other alcohol regulators understand drinkers’ concerns.

“Yes, I consume alcohol responsibly, in moderation,” she wrote in an email.

Clason earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. She lives in Salt Lake County with her husband, Stuart, and their two children.