SALT LAKE CITY -- Booze is big business in Utah.
Figures released by the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control on Tuesday showed that for the last fiscal year, state liquor stores made $367.2 million in retail sales. That's a 5.8% increase over the previous year, about $20.4 million.
"Some of it has to do with increased sales, the other has to do with a better economy," DABC Commission Chairman David Gladwell told FOX 13. "People are selecting better stuff, buying on the upper end."
Money made by the DABC from liquor sales goes to fund school lunch programs, public safety and the state's general fund.
More than three million cases of alcohol were sold in fiscal year 2014. In 2013, 2.9 million cases were sold.
Gladwell said liquor sales were recession proof: the agency saw an increase in case sales, but a slight dip in retail sales.
"Because people were buying cheaper product," he said. "We still didn't ever lose money."
Over the last few years, DABC sales figures have steadily increased 4-5%.
The agency is budgeting for 2015-2016 with plans for a slight raise for employees, whom Gladwell credited for ensuring that state liquor stores were efficiently run.
FOX 13 first reported last year on a study commissioned by the DABC that recommended the state add 12 new liquor stores. Gladwell said any additions would be in the hands of the Utah State Legislature.
"West Valley recently has expressed interest in a store, but it really is about $4 or 5 million to open a store," he said.