The influx of eclipse viewers resulted in a 43 percent increase in liquor sales over the same time last year.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO - The solar eclipse was good business for the Oregon Liquor Control Comission.Eclipse chasers in Oregon got their drink on Monday morning — especially in the path of totality.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission's preliminary data showed 43 percent ($737,000) increase in distilled spirits sales year over year from 57 retail liquor stores along the path of totality from Wednesday, Aug. 16 through Sunday, Aug. 20.

People in the 70-mile wide umbra, which passed from Newport to Madras and beyond, were celebrating with more than just moon-shaped pancakes and O.J.

The OLCC tracks hard liquor sales, as well as marijuana and across the whole state, the agency tracked more than $10 million in spirits sales during the eclipse event, $1.8 million (21 percent) more than the previous year.

"With the increased tourism traffic, we expected more customers at liquor stores, especially along the path of totality," says Will Higlin, OLCC Deputy Director. "Our staff did a great job working with retail liquor store owners to plan ahead for the increased traffic to make sure we could accommodate the high number of visitors and get shipments out the door in plenty of time."

Sales statistics for all stores are still being compiled. Final data will be released late September, 2017.

OLCC's Distribution Center worked with private carriers not only to get the added orders out the door and to store shelves on time but also to relieve additional road congestion on these busily traveled days.

The fabled road congestion barely happened. Aside from a few hours delay on I-5 in the Willamette Valley and Highway 26 in the Cascades, roads, trains and airports handled the visitors with ease.

Joseph Gallivan
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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