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DABC commissioners asked to work in state-run liquor stores

Posted at 3:37 PM, Nov 30, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's powerful alcohol control commission is being asked to do a little bit of labor.

Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Executive Director Tiffany Clason is asking them to volunteer to do some shifts in state-run liquor stores. It would help out an agency that is seeing labor shortages during the busiest sales time of the year, but also give them some valuable perspective on day-to-day liquor store operations.

"Being in the retail store and seeing what our employees go through," she said Tuesday. "What we call throwing cases, taking cases that weigh sometimes 30-40 pounds and having to move those multiple places, keep them replenished and even bagging right? And helping to get stuff in bags for our customers, it’s a really great learning experience to really interact and to get to know our employees and the hard work they’re doing, but also our customers and get feedback from them in real time."

The commission, who are made up of members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature, enforce alcohol policy that is passed by the legislature and decide who gets coveted liquor licenses. Recently, they met for the first time collectively in a licensed liquor establishment — a wine bar in Cedar City where they heard from the owner about his likes and dislikes about the DABC.

It may also be the first time commissioners have been asked to work in a liquor store. Members of the DABC's executive management team regularly volunteer to do shifts in state-run stores, especially when it gets crowded during the holiday season. They've been put to work in the back stocking shelves and bagging bottles to try to relieve the stress on store employees.

DABC Commission Chair Thomas Jacobson told FOX 13 he was not opposed to the idea.

"I’d be more than willing to do that if I can get the proper training and everything else and be an asset," he said.

During Tuesday's meeting, Commissioner Tara Thue repeated her call for DABC employee wages to be increased. The Utah State Legislature may be asked to increase funding for the agency so wages can be upped.

The DABC reported over $9 million in sales the week of Thanksgiving, the busiest time of the year for the agency. It's an increase over last year, despite labor shortages, supply chain disruptions and the COVID-19 pandemic. Clason thanked DABC employees for doing everything possible to keep lines moving quickly and product stocked on store shelves.

The agency is warning of increasing supply chain issues that may limit some products in stores leading up to Christmas and New Year's.

"Shop early, if you can’t find the product that you’re looking for because of a supply chain issue it’s always a great time to try something local," Clason said. "Anyone who might be consuming alcohol off premise, it’s a good time to use public transportation, ride share just make sure it’s great that everyone is consuming responsibly so everyone can have a safe and happy holiday season."