The new year will bring big price increases for Utah liquor consumers, thanks in part to the federal government's new budget and tax plan.

Price hikes, partly driven by whopping increases in the federal excise tax on alcoholic beverages, will be posted Jan. 2 on all merchandise in all stores, state liquor officials say.Administrators also anticipate price changes by the industry nationwide.

Kenneth F. Wynn, director of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, said Friday a few "post offs," or temporary price reductions, may help ease the crunch in January as manufacturers delay effects of price increases and try to keep their old market shares.

But for the most part, liquor, wine and beer prices will rise, in many cases a dollar or two a bottle.

The DABC normally makes price adjustments in February due to manufacturers' price changes, but next year it will take both federal excise taxes and price changes Jan. 2, he said.

Congress recently made major increases in excise taxes on most wines and spirits. Only those on champagne, which already were fairly high, were left alone.

Distilled spirits will go up $1 in tax, from $12.50 a proof gallon to $13.50. A proof gallon is one gallon of 100-proof spirits. The excise tax on a bottle of spirits is dependent on the size and its proof.

The beer tax goes from $9 a 31-gallon barrel to $18, or to about 5 cents a can. There is an exemption for small breweries.