- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - As the stars and movie enthusiasts flock to Park City for the Sundance Film Festival that kicks into high gear this weekend, sales at Utah’s state-run liquor sales in the area have spiked with high demand for some of the pricier cognacs and whiskeys.

Park City store manager Ron DeGraff said this is one of busiest weekends for sales at his store as all price levels of liquor fly off the shelves.

Saturday will likely be the second-biggest day after New Year’s Eve with sales expected to reach $150,000, he said. Utah only allows state-run liquor stores, and DeGraff’s store is the largest of three in Park City, a ski resort town of 8,000 people just east of Salt Lake City.

“We see mayhem,” said DeGraff. “It’s a busy, busy place.”

The two-week Sundance Film Festival opened Thursday and runs through Jan. 29.

It drew more than 46,000 people last year, and out-of-state attendees spent a total of more than $51 million, according to a study by the University of Utah.

The stars like to buy expensive wines, whiskeys and cognacs such as Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac that goes for $3,300 per bottle and is kept in a glass case. Macallan scotches are big sellers with some people buying a 25-year aged scotch that goes for $1,800 a bottle, DeGraff said. On the lower end, bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon wine that cost $100 or more each sell quickly.

Movies stars are not usually seen in the liquor stores. DeGraff said they usually send assistants, members of their entourage or have management companies where they are staying buy their preferred drinks.

DeGraff, who has worked for the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for 25 years, said more than a decade ago stars like Shirley Maclaine and Johnny Carson would come buy their own liquor.

“They’re pretty secretive about it now,” DeGraff said.

Festival attendees who are usually much less wealthy they tend to buy more moderately priced tequilas and whiskeys.

A $30 Bulleit bourbon and a $20 Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey have been selling briskly, he said. California tourists frequently buy tequila.

People planning big corporate parties or events get their liquor from a fourth store in Park City that specializes in selling to clubs.

Those orders are usually placed three to five months in advance so they have what they need in time for the events, DeGraff said.

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