The man who runs the state’s liquor sales business says it’s too early to tell if there’s been any impact on sales from the state’s new law banning smoking in bars and restaurants.
The ban went into effect on July 1st as the State Alcoholic Beverages Division under Lynn Walding started a new fiscal year. "When it comes to the smoking ban, the air certainly hasn’t cleared yet on that, it’s hard for us to tell one month into it," Walding says.
He says sales in July were up 25 percent. Walding says they have no way to make a direct connection between the ban and sales. Walding says they can’t distinguish whether the increase in sales is from home consumption or at bars and restaurants.
"The overall assessment I would say though from states that have gone through the experience before, is it has an overall zero impact on the businesses. That’s not to say it won’t impact some, but overall it ends up being about a balance," Walding says.
The upturn in July sales came after a drop in sales in May and June. Walding says the drop in sales in those months was a result of the flooding.