Getting a drink a Utah County is about to get easier.
Last week, state liquor commissioners approved plans for a new state liquor store for Pleasant Grove, and later this month the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control will once again approach commissioners about opening another Utah County store in Springville.
"We know that a lot of the people in the Highland, Alpine, American Fork, Pleasant Grove, Lehi and Saratoga Springs are driving to our Draper store, so that has generated a lot of comment about the need for a store in northern Utah County," DABC deputy director John Freeman said.
Currently there are only two state liquor stores in Utah County, both located in the Provo/Orem area, which means longer drives for anyone outside the area looking to purchase alcohol. The only other alternative is visiting a package agency, which is a privately owned, and usually smaller, liquor store that contracts with the state to sell liquor for off-premise consumption.
Freeman said that the packing agency in American Fork is currently the busiest one in the state signaling that the area is overdue for a state liquor store.
"The demographic is changing in Utah County," said Freeman. "With all the growth there are a lot of the people moving into the state that are social drinkers, so the demand is there, and the demand is there for high-end product."
The state currently has 40 stores and 90 packing agencies operating. It expects the new store in Pleasant Grove to be completed in 12 to 18 months. The DABC will meet with Springville to coordinate its plans, and if the liquor board approves the plan, the Springville store would be expected to open around the same time as the other.
The Pleasant Grove store will be located at the Dana Point Shopping Center, at approximately 595 S. Pleasant Grove Blvd. Pleasant Grove finance director Gary Clay said the city has been told to expect sales around $3 million to $4 million, which would bring it about $30,000 to $40,000 in sales tax.
"A busy convenience store brings in about $12,000 to $15,000 a year, so it is fairly significant," Clay said.
The DABC is not required to receive approval from city councils in order to build, but Freeman said it always consults with the local governments before taking its choice to the state liquor commissioners for the final say.
When looking for new locations, the DABC looks at many options and usually settles outside of residential areas and near freeways so that people from other communities can access them easily. The area in Pleasant Grove will have two hotels that will be constructed in the area, as well as other commercial development. Freeman did not divulge the exact location of the possible Springville location.
The biggest concern for some residents will be keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors, and Freeman said that the issue is equally important to the agency."It will be very secure," he said. "We will have off-duty police officers working security; we are constantly monitored by others, and we have our own covert buying system where we send in minors to attempt to purchase. So security is extremely tight."