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Monday, May 25, 2009

Utah Liquor Laws

If your visiting Utah and are curious about the states liquor laws or live here and are still confused here's a brief explanation of the laws to help you navigate the new Adult friendly Utah.

These new laws go into effect as of July 1st 2009.

Bars: Offer a full range of alcoholic beverages. The alcohol per drink is limited to 1.5 oz of primary alcohol per drink. Beers of all types and strengths are available as well as wine. No membership required, however I.D. is required if you appear to be younger than 35 years of age. No smoking allowed by state law.

Taverns: Offer only beer. Beer must contain no more than 4.0% Alcohol by Volume.

Restaurants: Alcoholic beverages can be ordered with dinner or in the restaurants bar area. The purchase of a food item is required in the bar area, usually the cheapest thing on the menu. Chips & Salsa etc. No children allowed in the bar area.

Brew Pubs: Offer craft beers made in house. There is no limit to strength of beer that they can sell in bottles, as long as they have the proper licence. Beer on draft is limited to 4.0% ABV. Some brew pubs will also have a bar licence to sell liquor and wine.

Beer: Beer containing an alcohol content of 4.0% and below can be purchased at convenience & Grocery stores. As well as bars, taverns, private clubs, restaurants & brew pubs. Beer Above 4.0% can only be purchased at Liquor stores, bars, restaurants, private clubs & Brewpubs with the proper licencing. There is no set limit to the amount of alcohol a beer can contain in Utah. Keg's are not available for purchase by the public and the brewing of beer and wine at home for personal consumption is legal.

Wine: Is available for purchase only at Wineries, liquor stores, state run wine stores, restaurants, bars and brew pubs with the proper licence. Utah's state wine stores have one of the best wine selections in the country.

Liquor: Is available for purchase only at Distilleries, Liquor Stores, Bars, Restaurants and Brewpubs with the proper licence.

State Liquor stores are closed on Sundays. But alcoholic drinks are available at bars on Sunday and 4.0% beer is available at convenience and grocery stores on Sunday.

Note: Bars are the former "Private Clubs". Even though the private club system has gone away some establishments have opted to stay private. Meaning you will need to be a member to enter. This mostly affect golf courses, fraternal organization and the like. Some Bars have opted to remain "private" and will require memberships. These will be a very small minority as far as Bars go.

Utah's Liquor Laws are now the closest they've been to normal in quite some time. Because Utah's Liquor laws have the misfortune of being written by people who don't imbibe (not all but most). The laws tend to be in a state of constant change. Which often adds to confusion. These are the basics. I'm not going to get into all the little technicalities that are out there because they affect a relative minority of drinker. Cheers!


Douglas said...

Good info. It shows how much regulation of alcohol and businesses that sell alcohol there is in Utah, most of it unneeded in my opinion. Mikey, could you give me an example of a Tavern?

Mikey said...

Dougie, the Cotton Bottom, Andy's or the Twilight lounge would be considered Taverns. Anyplace that just pours 4.0% beer.

Douglas said...

A kind of weird distinction, is it just cheaper/easier to get the tavern license as opposed to the full bar license?

Mikey said...

There are only so many liquid licences available per year plus some areas aren't zoned for bars/private clubs. By the way we do need to get our asses to Moab soon before that black ipa is gone.

Douglas said...

Dude, that's what I said! This week at the latest.

Andy said...

The brewpubs around town also have a separate liquor license for their "tavern section:" Red Rock's is around the central bar, Squatter's is along the bar nearest the front door, and Desert Edge's is around the lower bar with taps. They can serve tap beer (4.0% ABV) without food but no strong (bottled) beer or liquor available.

gregclimbs said...

is kegging homebrew legal?

Mikey said...

Yes and no. I don't think the legislation addressed that. I keg everyone I know kegs. Use your best judgment.

T said...

Wow - still clear as mud. Thanks for summing up everything for us Mikey.

I love the progress we are making here in Utah :-)

D Childress said...

Thanks for trying to clear that up, especially useful for someone, like me, who just moved here and has NO idea what's going on. question... how does someone figure out if a place is a bar or a tavern without actually going inside.

also it sounds like anything that's "on tap" is 4.0% beer... that's horrible!

Mikey said...

Hey D Childress, I'm glad you found the info helpful.

As to your question, that's a tough one. I guess the easiest way to tell a tavern from a bar would be to look at the neon window signage. If there's only beer signs then that may be the only option. But then again... that's not a guarantee.

Damn, I don't know!

Unknown said...

I'm so glad I live in Texas with the Baptists instead of in Utah with the Mormons...I mean, sure, the Baptists will *tell* you drinking is a sin, but I see 'em at the bar every weekend!

Anonymous said...

A light from of prohibition.... God damn Mormons.

grad said...

i know this may have nothing to do with any of what you are talking about but does anyone know where i can get a euro tap for a keg of newcastle brown ale.

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