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Location of Utah
Flag of the State of Utah
The alcohol laws of Utah regulate the selling and purchasing of alcohol in the United Statesmarker state of Utahmarker. 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 limit of 3.2 percent alcohol in beer. Beer over 3.2 percent is available in State Liquor Stores and Package Agencies, but not bars. 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.

Utah has the lowest per capita consumption of alcohol in the United States, as well as the lowest percentage of alcohol-related motor-vehicle deaths.

Background

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to which a majority of Utahns belong, teaches its members against the consumption of alcohol. Because of this traditional Mormon belief and the large population of Mormons in Utah, the alcohol laws of Utah have generally been strict.

History

Prohibition banned the manufacture, sale, transportation, import, or export of alcohol in the United States from 1920 to 1933 under the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Twenty-first Amendment later repealed the Eighteenth. When Utah became the state to cast the 36th vote to ratify the Twenty-first Amendment, Prohibition was officially repealed.

In March 2009 the laws pertaining to entering a bar to get a drink were repealed. In Utah to buy a drink, a new patron must first complete a form and pay a fee (about $15 for the year) that gets them a permit. This card allows them to drink at that particular venue. Likewise walls that shield drinkers from diners in restaurants are to be taken down allowing drinks to be served across the bar to all customers. The new laws take effect on July 1.

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 helped lead to less restrictive laws that came into effect in May 2003. This came after complaints, particularly after an incident in which an International Olympic Committeemarker official complained.

2009 efforts for reform

Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. who is a professed member of LDS church has been a proponent of loosening of alcohol laws. He believes reform would be favorable to the state's tourism industry.

Homebrewing of beer and wine has been popular for many years in Utah with multiple retail and even wholesale outlets for purchasing supplies, and ingredients. Homebrewing for the citizens of the state was made legal by law in March 2009.

Business

The Uinta Brewing Company is the state's largest brewer.

Criticism

Critics have derided the state's strict laws as "irrational".

Public opinion

According to a survey conducted by Deseret News in 2005, the majority of Utahns support the current alcohol laws. 70 percent support the current 3.2 percent alcohol limit, and only one third believe the laws are too restrictive.

References

  1. Liquor Laws Affecting Residents and Visitors. Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Accessed 2 February 2009.
  2. About DABC. Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Accessed 2 February 2009.
  3. Hinckley, Gordon B.. Words of the Prophet: The Body Is Sacred. New Era (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). Published 2–5 Nov 2006. Accessed 10 February 2009.
  4. http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2009/03/31/ap6234511.html Alcoholic Beverage Laws repealed
  5. Olympics Dry As A Bone. CBS News. Accessed 10 February 2009.



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