Alcohol laws of Utah
The alcohol laws of Utah regulate the selling and purchasing of alcohol in the United States state of Utah, and are some of the most restrictive in the USA. A person must be 21 years old to buy or consume alcohol. The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (UDABC) has regulated the sale of alcoholic beverages since 1935, two years after the end of prohibition. Utah is one of 18 control states, meaning the state has a monopoly over the wholesaling and/or retailing of some or all categories of alcoholic beverages.
Current Utah law sets a limit of 3.2 percent alcohol by weight (4 percent by volume) in beer sold at grocery and convenience stores and at establishments operating under a "beer only" type license, such as taverns, beer bars and some restaurants. Beer over 3.2 percent by weight (4 percent by volume) is available in State Liquor Stores and Package Agencies and at clubs and restaurants licensed to sell liquor. In commercial facilities, the time at which alcohol may be served is limited, and alcohol may not be sold any later than 1 am under any circumstance.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to which a majority of Utahns belong, prohibits the consumption of alcohol for its members. Because of this traditional Mormon belief and the large population of Mormons in Utah, the alcohol laws of Utah have generally been strict.
2002 Winter Olympic Games
During the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (UDABC) relaxed enforcement of Utah's alcohol laws. This led to the passing of less restrictive laws effected in May of 2003. This came after complaints, particularly after an incident in which an International Olympic Committee official complained.
2009 efforts for reform
Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. (in office 2005–2009), a member of LDS, was a proponent for less restrictive alcohol laws during his time in office. He believed reform would be favorable to the state's tourism industry.
Effective in June 2009, bars and clubs were no longer required to charge a cover, or a membership fee, making liquor more accessible to tourists and locals.
Even though homebrewing of beer and wine had been popular for many years in Utah, with multiple retail and even wholesale outlets for purchasing supplies, and ingredients, there was no law forbidding it or allowing it on the books. In March 2009, homebrewing for the citizens of the state was made legal.
Current Utah Laws
As of November, 2011, Restaurants and clubs are prohibited from serving beer until 10:00 am and not after 1:00 am.UDAB Utah State Senator John L. Valentine is introducing a bill that will allow each chain restaurant that enters Utah to obtain a "master" license for all of their locations, instead of having to apply for a liquor license at each individual location. This is hoped to speed up the process of obtaining liquor licenses when otherwise there are many locations of the same restaurant applying for a single license every month.
On March 8, 2013, the Utah legislature passed a law allowing restaurant patrons to order alcohol before ordering food after a controversial series of citations was issued to several restaurants.
According to a survey conducted by the LDS sponsored media outlet Deseret News in 2005, the majority of Utahns support the current alcohol laws. 70 percent support the current 3.2 percent alcohol limit, and one third believe the laws are too restrictive.
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