Utah has a well-earned reputation for having screwed-up liquor laws. Thank heavens state officials are perpetuating that reputation. Our guv just appointed another non-drinker to the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. That’s like putting a non-driver in charge of transportation. Or a virgin in charge of brothel regulation. Just sayin’.
Anyway, here are the top 5 reasons Utah’s liquor laws are a pile of crap:
1. The Infamous Zion Curtain: If we can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. That’s the philosophy behind the Zion Curtain law which states restaurants cannot display or make drinks in public view. This is to protect the children. In a world of violent cable TV shows, Internet porn and sexting, I think a child watching a beer being drawn is the least of our worries.
2. Few liquor licenses: Although our revered legislature has the power to magically create more liquor licenses to attract more drinking establishments to our state–they chose not to. Instead, they’ve capped the number of licenses available–but seriously considered selling those to the highest bidder. Ahhhhh. Our government at work for the small business owner.
3. Must eat to drink in restaurants: If you order a drink in a restaurant in Utah, you must also order something to eat. Have our legislators seen the obesity rates in Utah?? Do you think forcing people to eat more mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings is a good idea?? Yeah, they might not get as drunk–but they’ll be just as fat.
4. The closing of state-owned liquor stores: Here’s an idea: let’s take a profitable businesses and close up shop!! If you want to buy hard liquor, or wine, in Utah for consumption at home (or at work when no one is looking), you need to purchase it at a state-owned liquor store. Legislators thought it was a good idea to shut down 13 liquor stores, eliminate 150 jobs and shorten store operating hours–to save money. Even though five of those stores on the list had a combined sales total of more than $18 million in 2010.
5. No Advertising Drink Specials: As of July 1, local watering holes cannot offer drink specials. No more Tequila Tuesdays or Margarita Mondays. No more half-priced beer during the Super Bowl or discount mimosas during brunch. Brilliant bit of marketing strategy there. Again, proof that our legislators have the best interest of small businesses owners at heart.
Because our legislators grew up in Neverland (never drink, never smoke, never cheer for the Utes, never have sex, never gamble) they are punishing the people who enjoy an occasional drink at the end of a long day. I’ve never been a drinker, but I don’t think I need to impose MY ideas on anyone else. That’s like putting the inmates in charge of the asylum. Oh, wait. We already did.