Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Utah makes Kansas look like a party pooper

Posted By on Wed, Mar 4, 2009 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge utahotzberg.jpg

No state is more anti-drinking than Utah. The idiosyncrasies of the Beehive State's liquor laws are enough to fill a book, like this one. You can't sell beer or spirits on an election day. There's no such things as bars, just private clubs with membership fees. One person can't order a pitcher of beer due to the "slammin' law," which prevents people from having more than one drink in front of them. To order a pitcher, three people have to go up to the bar together.

And like Kansas, Utah serves beer that contains 3.2 alcohol or less.

But Utah is close to changing its 3.2 percent law. The Utah House, which is not exactly known as a bastion of liberalism or reform, voted overwhelmingly to move to full-strength beer. The vote was 58-2.

Granted, this bill is not a complete rejection of 3.2 percent beer. It would simply make draft beer full-strength, or as the Utes call it, "heavy beer." And while this bill just passed the House, a bill in the Senate would require that "cocktails be mixed behind

10-foot-high walls in restaurants, in an effort to keep children from

being tempted to take up drinking."

So, even though it hasn't had a complete change of heart about alcohol, the Utah House realizes the idiocy of 3.2 percent beer. Kansas, meanwhile, is still stuck at 3.2 percent despite some recent efforts to change that. As I wrote last month, Utah loves its weak brine. I just didn't realize Kansas likes its weak brine more.

Other weird Utah liquor laws:

  • Home-brewing is illegal in all forms.
  • Bartenders can't serve drinks directly over the bar. They must use a glass partition nicknamed the Zion Curtain.
  • To order a drink at a restaurant, you must also order food.
  • Kegs have been illegal since 1990.
  • Liquor can only be served in 1 ounce increments, so a mixed-drink like gin and tonic will only contain 1 ounce of gin.
Even with 3.2 percent beer, I think I'll stay in Kansas.

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