SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah's alcohol control agency has broken its all-time sales record for single-day sales.
The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control reported that its state-run stores sold $3.3 million in liquor on Wednesday alone. That broke the previous record of $3.2 million the day before Thanksgiving, said DABC spokeswoman Vickie Ashby. At the DABC's Cottonwood Heights store on Christmas Eve, people waited in a line just to get inside the building.
"We have a police officer that holds the crowds back so that we can still stock and get up and down the aisles," said store manager Shona Parker. "As a bunch go out, we have more come in."
Inside the store, lines stretched into the aisles as cashiers worked quickly to ring people up. Parker said customers were patient as they tried to keep ahead of the crowds.
Even DABC administrators were put to work in crowded stores (executive director Sal Petilos was stocking shelves at one store, his deputies unloaded trucks at another). Crowded stores are becoming a common sight around the holidays at all of the state-run stores.
"I just come in and it's packed," Bob Beers said. "It's such a good time, though."
For a state that tightly controls the sale and supply of alcohol, liquor is becoming a bigger business as Utah's population continues to grow. Each year, records are made and then quickly broken.
In fiscal year 2015, the DABC did almost $400 million in sales. When all the bills were paid, nearly $157 million went to school lunch programs, public safety and the state's general fund. (With that much money going into state coffers, Gov. Gary Herbert has repeatedly said he has no interest in privatizing liquor sales in the state.)
At the Cottonwood Heights store, they ranked as the state's number one selling outlet. Parker told FOX 13 that Wednesday's sales totaled about $190,000 and more than 1,000 cases of liquor were moved through it.
"It was a lot," she said. "It was a busy day."