Utah on track for record-breaking alcohol sales

Posted at 10:50 PM, Dec 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-13 00:50:54-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Liquor sales in Utah are breaking records.

The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control told FOX 13 on Wednesday that sales at state-run liquor stores are up four percent from last year. The day before Thanksgiving alone, DABC stores sold more than 306,000 bottles of alcohol.

The numbers are expected to grow in December.

"Usually in December we see sales increase about 33 percent," said DABC spokeswoman Vickie Ashby. "Last year, we did $32.4 million in December."

The DABC has a mandate to prevent youth access to alcohol. On Wednesday, they renewed their campaign against youth drinking, called "Parents Empowered," putting signs up in stores and new labeling on some bottles to remind parents to take steps to prevent children from drinking.

"When you have increased sales, you have increased access," said Doug Murakami, the alcohol education director at DABC. "So that's a concern, obviously. We want to tell parents it's important for them to have that talk with kids and let them know the dangers and consequences of underage drinking."

Utah has the lowest rate in the United States of young people consuming alcohol. At a time when liquor sales are rising, that number continued to decline.

A survey of children from the sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grades found that youth alcohol experimentation in Utah dropped from 9-percent in 2011, to 7-percent today.

"It's getting the message out to the parents to really set clear rules about no underage drinking and monitor their kids and stay close to their kids," said Art Brown, with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.