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Soldiers Come Home – Beer Sales Shoot Up

Beer and liquor sales skyrocket in Alaska when soldiers return from overseas combat. The Army says it’s trying to help by teaching more responsible drinking.

The Fairbanks Alaska economy suffers when the 4000 members of the city’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team deploy for service overseas.

Now that the team is back from a year in Iraq, business is booming. Compared to a year ago:

House sales are up 57% and rental vacancies are scarce and domestic air travel increased as well.

But the most striking sales differences may be felt by those that retail beer and liquor.

According to the Alaska Dept. of Revenue, in the first month after the soldiers returned from active overseas duty, beer sales went up 122% and liquor sales increased by 200%.

Anchorage 4/25 commander, Michael Howard knows that alcohol becomes a problem after soldiers come home from time served abroad. He says, "It's a trend. It happens every time. Just because it happens every time doesn't mean we should stop trying to minimize it."  

Howard says the Army owes its soldiers assistance in reintegration after they come home from war and are at risk of alcohol abuse problems. He says that to fight the problems that come with alcohol use, high ranking soldiers have received training to assist lower ranking service people in dealing with alcohol in safely.

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