Sales of hard liquor have jumped almost 50 per cent in Norman Wells, N.W.T., eight months after liquor restrictions were lifted.

In a plebiscite last December, the community elected to do away with the 40-year-old restrictions by a margin of only six votes.


Eight months ago a person could buy only one case of beer and two bottles of wine or a 40 ounce bottle of liquor and one case of beer per day from the liquor store in Norman Wells. (CBC)

The plebiscite result caused an outcry from some leaders in smaller surrounding Sahtu communities.

They said their people should have had a vote in the plebiscite because Norman Wells has the only liquor store in the region and the lifting of the restrictions would have an effect on their communities.

According to liquor commission figures, the Norman Wells liquor store sold 46 per cent more whiskey, vodka and other hard liquor between February and September this year compared to the same period last year.

An official said the exploration boom in the region may be partly behind the jump.

There were moderate increases in the sales of other alcoholic beverages, including a three per cent jump in beer sales and a 17 per cent increase in the number of coolers sold.

Overall alcohol sales increased nine per cent in the eight months after the ban was lifted.

Liquor sales were up about two per cent for the territory as a whole last fiscal year.

N.W.T. residents spent a total of $46.3 million on booze last year.