Utah has regularly endured criticism for its restrictions on alcohol sales and purchase, as the state’s alcohol laws are some of the tightest in the nation. Up until just recently, in fact, bottled beverages, of more than 4% alcohol content, were not allowed to be sold on Sundays. Antagonists argue that this and other laws have been a huge deterrent for tourists coming to the state to vacation.
Governor John Huntsman loosened that and other restrictions from 2008 through 2009, although some of the changes just went into effect in 2011. The decrease in restrictions includes the allowance that a properly licensed company can brew, bottle, and sell liquor all in one location.
Although these changes loosen some of the prior liquor laws, a new law puts a stop to ‘happy hour’ or any other means of discounting drinks. Licensing has become more challenging and is now limited to a certain allowable ratio of licensed alcohol dispensaries to the number of citizens and of police officers.
Proponents for some of the laws that restrict alcohol sales argue that they do not want tourism in Utah to be about alcoholic beverages and legal free range for public drinking. They believe that people who come to Utah to vacation are generally skiing, hiking, visiting national parks, and pursuing other activities that are not related to alcohol.
Senate President Michael Waddoups was worried that if we loosen liquor laws in Utah, we would be in danger of becoming the next Las Vegas or New Orleans, which are cities wrought with the hazards of excessive drinking in public places.
Currently, laws still require certain amounts of food to be ordered with drinks, and limit the size of the drinks that can be ordered during a given time. Laws such as these will be fought against, probably indefinitely, but for now, the state government is holding fast to its ideals for Utah.