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Deer hunters boost Wadena alcohol sales

Wadena Municipal Liquor Manager Tim Booth moves a box of beer. The store saw a record jump in sales during the deer hunting season this year. Photo by Zach Kayser

Some deer hunters may have lost out on getting a buck this year due to decreased populations, but they managed to get their hands on quite a bit of something else: beer.

Alcohol sales were up approximately $10,000 from last year's deer season, said Tim Booth, manager of Wadena Municipal Liquor. Booth said spikes in sales are normal around hunting season, but this one is the biggest he's seen since he started running the liquor store four years ago.

Booth especially saw sales spike during just the last three days of opening week. He said it would be interesting to look at all the licenses sold in 2011 versus 2012.

Booth added that, although beer and hunting are linked, the relationship between the two isn't that different from other social events.

"It's just like anything - they go on vacation. Heck, they're with their friends, who they probably only see once a year, and a lot of people have little hunting shacks where they sit around and just talk ... just a good getaway. Usually they're safe, they don't go to a bar and drive ... it's kind of a getaway from everything," he said.

The Wadena liquor store has begun stocking special products geared specifically for the season, and their strategy seems to be paying off. For example, the store carried a brand of whisky with a camouflage-colored bottle during deer season. Normally, that brand of whisky has a more conventional kind of bottle during the rest of the year. Booth said the special kind of bottle sold more during the weeks surrounding deer season than the regular version of the bottle had during the all of the other months of the year combined.

However, the biggest hunting-themed seller this year was a new type of beer under the Deer Dummy brand from a brewery in Maple Lake, Minn. The beer's name: Doe Pee, which Booth said is both a cheeky reference to the pheromones hunters use to attract bucks and a pun on the word "dopey".

"We sold 21 cases of it this year," he said.