Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Kimberly Houk reporting People who like to drink alcoholic beverages often criticize Utah for "backward" liquor laws.
But, there's nothing backward about the way the state dispenses liquor to its state controlled stores. In fact, a state of the art warehouse is being recognized as a tribute to automation and efficiency.
The demand for liquor in Utah is rising faster than the state anticipated, when the current liquor warehouse was built about 10 years ago.
KELLEN: "WITH A 5% GROWTH FACTOR, ALL OF A SUDDEN WE WERE OUT OF SPACE AND THERE'S NOT A PROBLEM UNTIL YOUR BUSY AND BUSY IS AT CHRISTMAS TIME. THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN ALL OF THE MERCHANDISE THAT CAME INTO THE WAREHOUSE GOT IN THE WAY B/C WE COULDN'T GET IT OUT INTO THE STORES QUICK ENOUGH."
But now, things are looking up. Literally. The solution was a new liquor warehouse built to store liquor vertically instead of horizontally.
KOCH: "IN THIS PARTICULAR PLACE IN THE STATE OF UTAH, THEY WERE OUT OF LAND. IF THEY HAD NOT USED THIS TYPE OF TECHNOLOGY THAT GOES VERTICAL, THEN THEY WOULD HAVE HAD TO OPEN ANOTHER WAREHOUSE SOMEWHERE ELSE IN THE CITY."
The new state of the art warehouse allows liquor to be stacked 44 pallets high.
In comparison with the old warehouse, it only had room to stack 3 pallets high.
KELLEN:" WE'LL BE ABLE TO FUNCTION BETTER IN OUR OPERATION AS FAR AS LESS BREAKAGE, MORE EFFICIENCY. THERE WILL BE NO PEOPLE IN THIS WAREHOUSE - THAT'S THE BIG ISSUE."
The warehouse is fully automated. The crates of liquor are placed on a conveyor belt and shipped to a crane. The crane then places the pallet on any number of racks standing 106 feet high.
The new facility came with a rather sobering price tag of $7 million dollars. The good news for taxpayers: the cost was covered entirely from the proceeds of liquor sales.