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Friday, September 12, 2008

Prohibition is Back!

This is just another example of why it's a bad idea to have non-drinkers regulating what they don't understand. The state of Utah has inadvertently introduced a de facto ban on flavored malt beverages, beers and ales. On Oct. 1, flavored malt beverages, such as Smirnoff Ice, Jack Daniel's Original Hard Cola and Bacardi Silver, must be off grocery store shelves and moved to state-controlled liquor outlets. But it's unlikely any of the products will be available in state liquor outlets by the Oct. 1 deadline.

"All Anheuser-Busch flavored malt beverages will no longer be available in Utah," said Michael Brennan, president of General Distributing Co., the state's largest beer distributor. "I don't think the public understands that 3.2 flavored beverages will be gone." The new law also targets traditional beers and ales containing flavorings such as apricot or raspberry.

So basically, If you enjoy a lager or ale that is flavored with food extracts made with distilled alcohol. It's unlikely that Utah distributors will continue to carry them. Why? It's problematic for manufacturers to comply with a bevy of regulations from a single state, particularly when the product is part of a national distribution chain and a small niche in the beer industry. It leads one to suspect that many companies may have some reluctance to incur all these additional expenses that Utah regulators are levying on them. If this is what the Utah Legislature and the governor wanted to accomplish, they've done it.

Note: this only applies to beverages that contain extracts. Malt beverages and beers that are made with "real fruit" do not fall under this this new fucked-up regulation. Thank God for small favors...


Anonymous said...

This is fucked! Good thing I learned to brew this year.

marty mankins said...

I think I would have rather had kept the 1 oz mixed drinks rule than have this bullshit nonsense.

I knew this would be a giant clusterfuck when it was announced. Lost revenue for grocery stores... distributors having to spend money and make changes for one state... it's uncalled for.

And Art Brown need to really STFU. I feel bad he lost a grandson to a drunk driver, but dude.. you've turned political. None of these efforts have anything to do with drunk driving.

Treat adult drinkers in Utah as adults, not little children.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mikey,
I have a couple of questions about this. My big fear about this legislation was that alco-pops would be moved to liquor stores, taking away a huge chunk of shelf space in the beer section. Will this not be the case?
And is there a concensus about whether beers like Wasatch's Apricot Hefeweizen (4% ABV) will no longer be sold in groceries? They are made with syrups, not real fruit.

Mikey said...

Andy, if the syrups used contain any distilled alcohol they will most likely have to go to the state liquor stores even if they're 4.0%abv or lower. There aren't many fruit beers from out-of-state sold in grocery stores. Those that are, are made locally. Our local guys are used to jumping through hoops to get their stuff out there. So I don't anticipate them disappearing at all. As far as shelf space goes, it's up to the grocer and beer distributors to decide what will fill the available shelf space. Did that make any sense?

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