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Stronger beer in Utah weakens sales in border communities

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Businesses in communities bordering Utah say the state's new and stronger beer allowances have hurt sales.

The beer sales have dropped about 20% to 30% in Utah-bordering communities in Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and Colorado, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

The drop in sales came after Utah began letting grocery stores, gas stations and bars sell brews with 4% alcohol by weight last November.

"We have seen quite a decrease in sales of our regular beers, like Budweiser and Coors," said Geoff Green, owner of the KJ Superstore in Malad, Idaho. "We were expecting a drop but not as much as it has."

Green said he expects that once the weather warms and people start heading out on vacation, sales could improve.

"Corona and other Mexican beers were affected most" in West Wendover, Nevada, Lee's Discount Liquor manager Jose Correa said. "We're still trying to see what we can do to improve those numbers."

Utah grocery and convenience stores previously could sell beer that was 3.2% by weight, but new regulations increased to slightly stronger beers, officials said.

Utah residents who wanted higher-alcohol beer and didn't want to pay the liquor store markup made special trips to stock up, business owners said.

"There's no reason to bootleg beer from convenience stores in Evanston, Malad, Mesquite and West Wendover," said Jim Olsen, president of the Utah Beer Wholesalers Association. "We are selling the same beer as stores in those border communities."

News / Regional News / Top Stories / Utah

Associated Press

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