Utah Brewery Map

Monday, October 31, 2016

Utah's 3.2 Beer Going, Going, Gone?

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 DABC).

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
Source: Fox13now.com


MicroBus Brewery said...

I've been wanting them to do away with the 3.2 on tap restriction forever, so that makes me feel optimistic. But at the same time, as you point out, be prepared to lose something here. The state legislature as a whole is notorious for their one step forward, two steps back song and dance.

Aaron Saxon said...

It would be great to walk into a gas station or grocery store and see nothing but microbrewery beer! Hope the macrobreweries have to have there garbage sit in the liquor store warm! Cheers!

Travis said...

It is something that needs to happen. And in addition if the 5% beer is placed in regular stores, they need to reduce the price from the state liquor store price... no one is going to pay $2+ per beer in the grocery store.