Oct 26, 2022 - Business

Utah's booze prices exceed national norms

Note: Minimum shelf prices are shown and some retail outlets may charge more. Data: State liquor commissions, Axios research; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Utah has some of the highest liquor prices in the country, according to an Axios analysis of liquor prices in all 50 states.

Why it matters: Liquor sales brought about $240 million in revenue to the state's coffers last year.

What's happening: With a mandated 88% markup for liquor, Utahns pay $44.99 for a handle (1.75 liters) of Tito's Vodka — the second-highest price found by Axios Local correspondents who surveyed prices across the country.

  • That's more than $12 above the average price we found.
  • Only Oregon ($46.95) topped Utah. But in Indiana, you can get a handle of Tito's for just $19.69!

Details: This vodka brand isn't our only pricy liquor.

  • The regular Utah price of $51.99 for a handle of Jack Daniel's was the fourth-highest price we found. (But it's on sale now for $49.99!)
  • Our Jack's is nearly $9 more expensive than the average.
  • Our Hennessy VS is less overpriced: $94.99, less than $2 above average.

Zoom out: Utah's state-required markup makes run-of-the-mill bottles significantly more costly than they are in Wyoming (state-set minimum $37.21 for Jack's), Nevada ($88.99 for Hennessy in Vegas), and Colorado ($25.89 for Tito's in Denver).

  • Idaho prices are similar to Utah's.

Yes, but: Utah's liquor stores also limit the markup on rare bottles that can cost almost 10 times as much in other states.

  • In a 2021 Pappy Van Winkle sale (bourbon whiskey, for the uninitiated), Utahns paid $300 for a 23-year-old bottle that often runs $1,000 to $2,000 elsewhere.
  • The state occasionally runs lotteries for rare products.

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