"Jailhouse Liquor" is a hit.
The first liquor store in Kotzebue, Alaska in more than 20 years -- the nickname comes from its proximity to the city slammer -- is making nearly twice as much money as expected and is on pace to bring $600,000 a year into city coffers.
"I got told one day that I was the most popular guy in Kotzebue," said store manager Tryson Ferguson, whose biggest sellers are 30-packs of Budweiser cans and $21.60 bottles of R&R whiskey.
The Kotzebue city manager calls the store a "grand experiment." Created by voters, it's owned and operated by the city. The government also runs a new distribution center, which tracks and taxes all legal alcohol shipped into the so-called "damp" community of more than 3,200 people in Northwest Alaska.
The new alcohol center is taking in about a quarter million dollars a month before expenses, Ferguson said.
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