SALT LAKE CITY -- Becky Rosenthal knows first-hand what it's like to find a great drink on Utah liquor store shelves one day, only to find it gone the next.
"We've gone from store to store and bounced around until we've found the right thing," said Rosenthal, who writes about food and drink in Utah on her website, theslcfoodie.com.
Recently, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control quietly made its inventory available online for everyone to see. Through a search engine tool on the DABC's website, customers can look up a particular bottle or type of drink (say, "merlot" or "absinthe") and view the brands and how many bottles are available at what liquor store in the state.
The DABC cannot publicize the website because it is forbidden from promoting the sale of alcohol, but in a statement to FOX 13, agency spokeswoman Vickie Ashby said:
"In response to patrons' requests, DABC added a Product Search tool to the website. It is important to note, quantities shown are from the previous business day and are not guaranteed. Patrons are encouraged to contact the store to ensure availability."
The website may cut down on huge lines like those that spawned after FOX 13 reported on a rare batch of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon being sold at liquor stores. Within minutes, the bottles were snapped up.
At the Sugar House liquor store, employees were being asked where to find particular brands of wine or beer. Leonora Bonacci was pleased to hear about the website search tool.
"It sounds like a very good help," she said as she clutched a bottle of wine.
Bee Lufkin also said she would use it -- but wished the search engine would tell you the price per bottle.
"It would be nice to know the price!" she said. "Unfortunately, that does make a difference in wine purchases."