Last October I came across a story out of Oklahoma in regards to that state's plans to get rid of their "3.2" beer law. I thought this was very interest news considering how closely our [Utah's] liquor laws have mirrored one and other over the years.
Basically Oklahoma wants to do away 3.2 beer and according to recent polls, it looks like this will be happening when the Oklahoma legislature meets next month. Right now there are five state that have some sort of 3.2 beer law on their books: Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and Minnesota. Oklahoma is the largest consumer of 3.2 beer with Utah a close second. Colorado [third] is looking to do away 3.2 beer in 2009.
So what does that do to Utah's beer landscape? If these three largest consumers of 3.2 decide to do away with the low point beers, will it be cost effective for the big breweries to keep making it? Apparently that question is already on the minds of some Utah law makers.
State Sen. Karen Mayne [D] has been approached by interested parties [distributors, manufacturers, etc] about revising the definition of beer under Utah liquor laws in response to Oklahoma's beer vote. She said she believes some kind of a policy change is necessary, which could include moving high-point beers to grocery stores and convenience stores.
If the large brewers drop 3.2 beer and Utah doesn't revise its definition,
consumers could see a dramatic decrease in beer selection in convenience
stores and grocery stores. This could be a boom for local beer makers that are currently making oceans of low point beers already. Alternatively, state-run liquor stores could
be forced to absorb an extra consumer base they're not prepared for
(heavy beer accounts for only 20 percent of sales, according to the
Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, who has been tasked by the Republican
majority with overseeing liquor laws, told FOX 13 News the earliest the Utah
State Legislature could look at it would be 2018 -- after observing the
timeline of Oklahoma's beer vote, presuming it passes.
Now this doesn't mean that "skies the limit" in regards to grocery store beers. My guess is that you'd be looking at beers in 5.0% - 6.0% range. We also have to be prepared for the eventual loss of current drinking liberties that we now enjoy. that loss will likely be a big one in my opinion.
So, what do you think?
Image Courtesy: Pat Bagley