Utah Brewery Map

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No More Adaquate Beer Legilslation

It's that time of year again - when logical, well meaning people go to Utah's Capitol to plea for law changes to make their little corners of the world a little better.

Every individual has a different interpretation on what "better" is. And as usually happens, those in the minority find out that settling for "adequate" is a close as their gunna get.

That's what we're going to talk about today, adequate beer policy. As much as we bitch about how bad things are beer-wise here in Utah, I think we all know that it could be a hell of a lot worse. We have seen vast improvements in the production and availability of local craft brands as well as a broadening of brands from outside of the state. But things are still just adequate.

It comes to reason that as the beer market expands the infrastructure to manage it's growth must expand as well. The state cannot keep up with the demand that Utah's growing craft beer community is imposing on it.

The state liquor warehouse (even though expanded) is already bursting at the seams. We need to lighten the burden and move the beer end of the socialized liquor monopoly to the private sector, where it can be properly managed by the people who know this side of the business. The Beer Distributors.

This doesn't mean that the state doesn't get it's eighty something percent of the pie. It just means that the state gets it's taxes without the burden of managing the floor space the beer occupies.

If the state trusts Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries with the manufacturing and selling of their products with the class five packaging license, the leap to expand it to the distributors isn't that big.

All this leads to two things. The elimination of the 4.0% cap on draft beer and the saving of millions of dollars a year in an ever expanding beer market.

Last year Rep. Curtis Oda sponsored this very bill (HB349). The 2009 legislative ended without the bill going to a vote in the senate (passed in the House). This year Senate President Michael Whaddoups has already announced he would not hear any alcohol legislation this session. It seems he also sets the agenda on what is heard and not heard. It is beyond absurd that someone has this much power over an issue that he has such strong biases against.

My plea to you is this. If Rep. Oda manages to get this bill heard again, make sure you contact your representative and ask for their support of the bill. If it doesn't make it don't worry, there will still be next year. We don't want this bill to get the reputation as being a annual failure.



Beau said...

It would be very helpful if you were to update this post with a link to where people can send an E-mail to their local representative.

Mikey said...

Here are links to help find your Representative and Senator. Some new members of each body have not been sworn in yet. So give it some time we still have a few weeks before the session begins.

Please don't bug them about stuff that hasn't been introduced yet. We'd like for things to go as smoothly as possible.



kent said...

I'm afraid the prevailing attitude will be that we should count our blessings for the bone we were thrown last year.

I was less than impressed with the response I got from my Senator when I emailed him about HB51, but the response was not unexpected. That said I'll do all I can to support this should it come up.

Douglas said...

Great post Mikey. Really, this is a minor change that would have major positive repercussions for everyone. I totally agree that we have a unfair situation here where a few (or even one) people can hold up the needed changes. Too bad we can't hold a referendum (it would lose statewide anyway I suspect).

Anonymous said...

(poor college student) well i graduate in a coupla months and i will be free. Oregon here i come, back to a full variety of lambic ales, and the full spectrum of beer. No more damn Devastators, no more damn full sail beers at the bar. Will be able to drink good beer once again. I HATE utahs legislators!! I hate not being able to drink a f#*king eisbock at the bar on tap!!!

Trent said...

In order for change to happen just like Art Brown heading up MADD we need to form a lobby group and put our money where our mouth is. Instead of saying we don't have a chance we need to stand up and be heard. We need to set the facts straight and we need to have open dialogues that help create proper legislation. I've been hit by a drunk driver and my car totaled, I know what it is like. Was it preventable who knows should drinking be band because of this, not in my opinion. If we want to reduce the deaths related to driving under the influence we need to create legislation that gets people to walk, opens establishments in the neighborhoods, creates room to leave your car and call a cab without the worry of ticket or towing. Truly if we want to stop deaths related to drinking and driving 2 things are possible one prohibition (Art Brown's view), two installation of breathalyzers in all autos to start your car maybe not a bad idea however costly to the owner. Since neither are feasible we need to work to put items in place that reduce the amount of people that get behind the wheel over the limit. As seen in the video Art Brown mentions the driver had 21 drinks over six hours, the current legislation promotes drinking liquor or wine not beer, if it was changed maybe the person would not have been 3 times the limit, who knows. As a group of people lobbying for proper changes these are the types of items we can openly discuss with logic vs emotion and get the representatives in our court. Let's stand up and have a voice we now out number the Religious Right in Salt Lake City it is time for change and we have to have a voice for change to take place.

Mikey said...

Trent, Check with the Utah Restaurant Association. they normally handle liquor issues.

kent said...

Very nicely said Trent.

Andy said...

Hypocrite Republican Utah senate majority leader Sheldon Killpack just got a DUI...

Anonymous said...

(poor college student) we have no voice, nor is it worth the trouble. I am drinking a great bottle of Trois Pistole and will enjoy it despite the crazy liquor laws.