I did some research about 5 years ago to see if alcohol taxes affected alcohol
related accidents. I was surprised to find out that it did not. What I did find
out was that there was a direct correlation with tobacco taxes. The higher the
tobacco tax the lower the alcohol related accidents, with the exception of Utah
which had half the rate of the next lowest state and has an average tax. As far as Utah having complicated regulations, it does not. About 1/3 of the
states, including Mass. and Nevada, but excluding Utah, let the counties and
cities have their own regulations, meaning they have dry or semi-dry counties,
etc. Now, that's complicated. So, basically it is illegal to have a
dry county in Utah and I guess by that reasoning Mass. really didn't
legalize adulthood. If a child drinks is he acting like an adult? hmmm
Normalizing Utah's laws isn't going to create more drinks, per
person.Idaho, full of LDS, allows liquor to be sold in grocery
stores.One of the busiest liquor stores in Nevada, is in Mesquite (a town
full of LDS and not far from LDS-filled St George).This isn't
LDS against non-LDS. This is about rights, the fact that many LDS *do* drink,
and the silliness that creates a "naughty" image that kids can't
wait to taste.
Having moved here from another state years ago, I can tell you that this town is
perceived as a backwater, religious zealot kind of place and it's all due
to liquor laws.
I don't see what the problem is with changing the liquor laws in
Restaurants or bars.At those establishments, if they are caught
selling to minors they are fined and can lose their liquor licnese. That is
enough to ensure that they don't sell to minors, so what is the problem
with allowing places like Olive Garden to sell wine by the glass, or other
restaurants to sell mixed drinks?It used to be that the concern was
that kids would see it, and be influenced by seeing people drink. I hate to
break it to many around here, but kids see people drinking all the time on TV,
and in some cartoons.Keep the state run liquor stores, but make life
easier on the bars and restaurants. If we do, that will only add to the tax
revenues from the sale of more alcohol. Where a person may have ordered a $2
soda, they may now order $10 in drinks.
Kelliebelle66Of course you are aware that the original word of
wisdom allowed for the use of beer, but advised only against strong
drinks(liquor). Even so the early bretheren, including several prophets used it
sparingly even after the word of wisdom. Even if you don't use it, why
should others that don't share your beliefs be forced to follow them?
That whole deal with the zion curtain kind of sums up liquor laws here:
Pointless micromanaging. It's an answer to a problem that doesn't
exist, an assuage to people who don't even drink. It's time to let
adults run the place for a while, I think.
Asking somebody who comes into a restaurant if they intend to eat is the most
rediculous thing I have ever heard. If they aren't they will just lie and
say they are. So it is pointless to ask. What they should do is if the patron
doesn't eat, then they can't be served more then 2 drinks. I doubt
this would happen very often as restaurant drinks are expensive compared to bar
drinks or drinking at home. I bet most normal people go to a restaurant to eat
and have a drink.
dumprakeI am moving to California, but not to get drunk and be
stupid (seriously). I'm going to be an adult, breath better air, get out of
the snow and drive in safer traffic than the daily I15 luge run.
re: trekker 8/4"The State should not be running a retail
business of any king."Funny how you capitalize The State but I
agree.Isn't a state run business socialism?
One thing I will give you though, is that despite the 21st Amendment saying
people have the right to buy alcohol, you recognize that there are ways that it
can be regulated and still be constitutional. Now if only you could figure that
out for guns...
@rfpeterlin"The only reason that folks say boo about alcohol controls
in Utah is Anti-Mormon sentiment. "Or they just want a glass of
wine or a beer with dinner without being treated like they're either
children or trying to obtain a prostitute.
I am all for the restrictions, and am glad that Utah makes it as difficult as
possible. Let the other 50 states "legalize adulthood" but Utah can
stay tough on Alcohol providers and consumers!
Just as an aside, for those who venerate the founders (most of us do), Benjamin
Franklin said beer was proof of God's love for man. Moreover, beer was the
drink of choice during colonial times. It seems to have gotten us off to a
pretty good start.
"Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which
incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof
that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!...My Christian brother, be kind
and benevolent like God, and do not spoil his good work. He made wine to gladden
the heart of man ..." - Benjamin Franklin."The almost
universal health among the students, was to be ascribed, next to early rising
and beef and mutton pies at Commons, to the very moderate use of wine and ardent
spirits. When our barrells and bottles in the Cellar were empty, we used to Size
it at the Buttery, and I shall never forget, how refreshing and salubrious we
found it ..." - John Adams."I rejoice, as a moralist, at the
prospect of a reduction of the duties on wine ... It is an error to view a tax
on that liquor as merely a tax on the rich. It is a prohibition of its use to
the middling class of our citizens ... No nation is drunken where wine is cheap
... Its extended use will carry health and comfort to a much englarged
circle" - Thomas Jefferson.
"Normalize" that is a biased line. Alcohol restrictions are Normal.
50,000 people jumping off a bridge, is it normal to follow? The only reason
that folks say boo about alcohol controls in Utah is Anti-Mormon sentiment.
Truth be told, there are countless non-Members in Utah that relish the controls.
Utah is not dry, and I for one hate having to walk by an open bar when I want
to go out for supper.
I give credit for the low levels of alcohol consumption in Utah to the teachings
of the Church Laws are irrelevant to believers--laws will neither increase nor
decrease consumption. Therefore, enforce laws that directly affect dangerous
activities like drinking and driving, and make the rest conform to what other
states do. A .05 alcohol level for driving would be a good start. In Scandinavia
the tolerance is 0. that is a good direction to go.
I do not drink alcohol but I have friends who do and it appears that the intent
of all liquor laws in Utah is to humiliate people who do drink alcohol. Utah
republicans and conservatives insist on less government unless it pertains to
any moral law.
Why are we wasting time on this. Leave it as is. Can we get on with more
important issues, rather than wasting time and money on this. We don't need
to be like everyone else. Why would we want to try. Utah is a great state to
live in,let's keep it like that. We make these kind of changes, and it will
just hurt us. So leave the law alone.
Liberalized alcohol availability should be accompanied by much more stern
penalties for irresponsible use of alcohol. E.g. Drunk driving: $10,000 and 5
years suspension of all driving privileges.
Why anyone in their right mind would want Utah to be like other states is beyond
me. If you consider higher underage drinking, higher crime rates, higher
domestic violence and more DUI's is "normal", then you've got
bigger problems than the Zion curtain.
I have met people from Europe and East Coast that traveled to Utah, years ago,
and were so turned off by the experience that they won't return. I explain
to them, that things have progressed. But the damage is already done and their
negative association with the product (Utah) means they won't buy it
again.I think teetotalers assume that drinking is always about an
immoral practice or drunken, irresponsible, debauchery. Which, it can be. But it
can also just be meeting friends for brunch and preferring a mimosa, rather than
a diet coke with lemon. Just like I prefer a Denver omelet to pancakes.Most of the comments I'm reading are obviously from people that do not
drink or own businesses based in tourism and so the comments lack perspective on
the nuances which are unreasonable. I think there is a difference between laws
that actually serve a functional purpose and laws that just make people feel
good. Was there an explosion of crime after the major private club law changed?
Or is life fairly similar?
What does normalize mean anyway? Areas in the South make Utah's liquor
laws look positively permissive and the LDS church is not even prevalent.
People claim that the large amount of LDS people in the state are the reason
this is so. Probably. But then you'd have to admit that that is why our
cities and our states are fiscally and economically strong and why we have lower
crime rates than many states do as well. There is also this mistaken idea that
LDS people look down on people who drink. No. I have been in many social
situations where perfectly nice people enjoy a glass of wine. In fact, I
don't believe it is necessarily a bad thing. But the Word of Wisdom asks
us to avoid alcoholic beverages in order to avoid many of the problems that can
arise from the misuse of alcohol. In addition I think the church and state need
to better educate people about the dangers of prescription painkillers and
exactly how they work on the brain. Utah is one of the top problem states when
it comes to this type of abuse, as bad a problem as alcohol.
Utah is different, and isn't it wonderful? How blessed we are, why would
we even WANT to be like other states? Utah was founded by brave pioneers who
wanted to live according to the dictates of their own consciences. If you
don't appreciate the wonderful differences we enjoy, why not go where you
can be as drunk as you please?
PA has weird alcohol distribution laws. Beer is sold in grocery-type stores
only if they have a cafe and separate cash register for beer purchases. All
other types of alcohol are sold in state-owned liquor stores. Beer can be
bought at "beverage" stores, beer distributors--mostly by the case. If
one merely wants to buy a six pack of beer they can go to a bar which may/may
not sell 6 packs or to another type of beer store. However, one can go in
restaurant-bars or bars and order drinks without extra regulatons. Despite the laws in PA, it doesn't have a lower incidence of drunk
driving fatalities than surrounding states. The lower incidence of
drunk driving and associated fatalites/injuries in UT is largely due to the
homogenous population, dominated by the LDS Church, not because drinks are
hidden behind a "curtain." What responsibilty should bars
have in making sure their patrons don't exceed the blood alcohol limit?
In CA at least, someone involved in a drunk-driving accident, either
the perpetrator or the victim can sue the establishment where the person got
I work in the skiing industry. I constantly talk to people about planning their
ski vacations here and they overwhelmingly say, " but aren't the liquor
laws too tight there?'. A huge number of people choose to ski in Colorado
or New Mexico because they know they can enjoy "apres ski" in those
states. That could amount to millions of travel industry dollars, and jobs, that
Utah is losing out on! This past season when some of my clients from New York
found out they were drinking 3.2 beer they all said, " Well [darn]! We
aren't coming back here again!" If you are arguing that normal liquor
laws would make us socially irresponsible you are missing the point.We could
have "normalcy" and still be responsible with education and enforcement.
Trying to legislate morality doesn't work. We know that. Utah is the
number one state in the country for pornography addiction! I know several
families that drive to Wyoming every month to buy alcohol! That is revenue that
is leaving the state every day! If we were "closer to normal" then these
amazing mountains would draw in soooo many more families to experience the
greatest snow on earth!
Perception of Utah?Residents may yearn for days of old, and isolation from
the big bad world and it's evil ways. An oasis of clean, non drug,
happiness is the ideal many have hoped to find in the state of Utah.In
order to keep Utah in the running for conventions, Olympics, big races, new
business, etc., this utopic lifestyle is no longer possible. Alcohol does
not fit in the historic plan of the state.Those who are the strongest,
most powerful, influential, most vocal, and wealthiest are the leaders of
business and government. They make the majority of the decisions, making the way
for change and leading the way. Building up their portfolios in order to
accrue more wealth continues to be their life's goal.
@LittleStream:"If you do this the church will lose more members to
alcoholism."Are the LDS Church and its members really so weak
and unable to control themselves that the only thing keeping them from getting
drunk is civil and criminal law? Does this mean that Mormons in the other 49
states are closet boozers who ignore church teaching because there isn't
sufficient criminal liability to rein them in? The fact is, state laws that
enforce church teachings tend to create only an appearance of piety in the
state. It makes adherence to beliefs superficial since members are required to
do it by law without internalizing the doctrines behind those beliefs. It also
reduces the support and desire for religious outreach programs when, to the
casual observer, everyone in the state is already following church beliefs.
Why do we need to keep revisiting this issue? The vast majoirity of adults in
this state do not drink and underage drinking is the lowest in the nation. Our
policies and laws are working. The laws have been bent far enough for those who
want to drink. Walk into any grocery store and the aisles are filled with beer.
Provo and just about very city in the state now sells beer on Sunday. If
anything get the beer out of the grocery stores. Enough is enough. We
don't need to cow tow to these private interest groups any longer. I am
all for free markets but even they need rules and regulations otherwise we will
revert back to being like Tombstone, AZ.
Governor Huntsman buried the hatchet between factions on this issue a few years
ago. Now some opportunists on one side and zealots on the other have dug it up
again. Shame on them.
Normalize. I've been in hundreds of restaurants all over this country, and
it's obvious to me when I'm in a bar or a restaurant. Restaurateurs
are not stupid and they also know the difference. This is one you can leave to
the market. At the same time, I'm in favor of the stiffest possible
penalties for DUI. Do NOT let these people drive.
I have to agree with the analysis and position of Mr. Schubach.And I
have to wonder where all the "conservative" LDS people toss their
"keep government out of regulating our lives" when it comes to alcohol?
How can you maintain such inconsistent positions and still have any sense of
Utah has has been rated in all ten of the tests of entrepreneurial friendliness
and encouragement. The only state to rate in the top ten. Utah is one of the
few states without debt. Why? Might it be because of limitation of drinking
and, perhaps added to that, gambling is not legalized through a lottery or other
types of gambling. State sponsored gambling is a failed policy. Think about
it. In areas where gambling is pondered and are permitted by law, the related
costs such as addiction treatment, increased crime, family break-up and business
losses provoked by employees stealing from their employers to feed a gambling
addiction costs between $3 and $6 for every dollar raised by the state via
gambling revenue. It may that one addiction feeds the other addiction! Think
about it and enjoy your freedom.
Are people really suffering because they can't have an alcoholic beverage
at a restaurant? If it's about the alcohol, simply go to a bar and grill
establishment. What is "normal" when it comes to regulation
of alcohol? Each state and even municipalities has its own laws and ordinances
regarding the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Alcohol is the most
abuse drug in the world. Tens of thousands of people are killed each year in the
USA due to alcohol related incidents, and many more are maimed and injured.
States that have more strict alcohol laws should not rationalize and loosen
their laws just because other states have less strict laws. People will still
get their alcohol in Utah without less strict laws as they have until now.
Could the fact that we have the lowest underage drinking percentages be because
people choose not to drink? Perhaps it's the religious influence in this
state, and not the ridiculous laws that we have that "take over the role of
parents" in preventing their kids from drinking. I find it so
ironic that in a state that claims so much to value the right of others to
choose, they make these laws that prevent people from doing that. Let's
allow adults to be adults. Let's realize that just because I see somebody
at the next table enjoying a mixed drink or wine with their meal, it
doesn't mean that I will suddenly lose control and have to have one as
well. Just because I can see the bar in a restaurant doesn't mean that I
will suddenly be compelled to drink. It doesn't work when I see the
desserts displayed, why would it for alcohol?
People come to Utah because it is different and not "normal,"
normalizing liquor laws may decrease tourism.If we normalize our
liquor laws, we should normalize DUI from 0.08 to 0.05 and increase fines and
mandatory jail for first offenders. Very strict laws for drunk driving and
loose liquor laws are the norm. If we are going to go the way of
the world, then let's go the whole way and have the same DUI laws as Canada
if we are going to match Canadian "normal" liquor laws to make more
money. Money should not be the justification to loosen liquor laws.
What has happened in Salt Lake City, and the rest of Utah, is a microcosm of
what is happening in America, as a whole. People come here to escape the
horrible life style, in their home Country, City or State, and immediately start
trying to change their new home, unto the same life style they escaped from. If
Salt Lake City and America did not resist, these people could have stayed home.
I do not drink, however, I think Utah needs to close its state liquors stores
and let it go privately like other states. Utah's current laws cause anger
and resentment toward not only the State but also the LDS church.People forget
history, before the prohibition act Utah was home to many distilleries many made
Danish beer and yes even church members drank it. The word of wisdom was treated
more like an advisory back then. The State should not be running a retail
business of any king. I support the rights of other to drink if they want
without having to buy it from their government. Stores sell, tobacco and beer.
Why not liquor?
Normalize. It's time to legalize adulthood in Utah. I came to
Massachusetts 12 years ago on a 3 week business trip. When I realized they had
legalized adulthood I was mesmerized by the feeling be being an adult (49 years
old) and not having to look over my shoulder just to have a beer. I looked
around the third week I was here and said to myself, I'm never going home.
And I didn't.
The state government's role is to protect the people of Utah. Providing
alcoholic entertainment for tourists is farther down the list. We need to ask
what the positive benefits of more access to alcohol for society are: does more
alcohol or greater access benefit the people of Utah? Will it increase the
safety and well-being of society? Perhaps we should look at the increased cost
of law enforcement, especially the issue of drunk driving; ask the highway
patrol, and police their opinions. Would more alcohol benefit the children of
Utah? Is there a higher risk of addiction and neglect? It seems to me like a
small vocal minority is putting the majority at risk. We need to weigh the
benefits and detriments. People will always come here to ski and get an
adrenaline high - do they need a chemical high as well? With all of the problems
in the state, would having more free-flowing alcohol help? Why drink? Let's
look at finding ways to solve problems not just drinking to forget.
This is one compromise that doesn't have to be made. The bar and brewery
owners knew the laws when they opened in Utah. If they can't operate under
those rules, they can go to a different state.If you do this the
church will lose more members to alcoholism. That's my prediction.
There is not the tiniest bit of evidence that the "Zion Curtain" reduces
alcohol consumption. I'm not looking for a vast liberalization of our
alcohol laws. It just seems to me that laws like the zion curtain exist only to
show drinkers that we don't like them.
Utah's historic laws on the sale of alcoholic beverages is grounded in the
antiquated recommendations found in the "Word of Wisdom." The Utah
legislature, filled with LDS members, acts like they are an army fighting
against sin. In reality, the army of secular research is winning. For example,
coffee is better for you than Mountain Due, and Red Wine is better for you than
Hot Chocolate. Utah's Liquor laws make Utah appear like a church controlled
state and do little if anything to stop drunk drivers, domestic violence, or
other alcohol created problems. Remember, "Stronger than an army is an idea
whose time has come."
Utah received it's "strict" liquor control laws as a result of then
LDS Church President Heber J Grant's displeasure of Utah being the state
that ended prohibition in the United States. This mandated that government
control wholesale and retail distribution of distilled spirits. I think
it's time the other shoe dropped and the state ends even all retail sales
of 3.2% beer in any grocery or convenience stores, and let's throw all
tobacco products under the exclusive DABC umbrella as well. We need to
eliminate all juvenile exposure to these products of sin and rebellion. Go
north of the border into Canada and this is the rule as well. It isn't
just an LDS vs. a non LDS philosophy, it's social responsibility.
Utah has it right. Don't change the liquor laws. Alcohol is the number one
bad drug in this country...and we should "normalize" the Utah liquor
laws? "Be like other states?" No way, if anything toughen the liquor
laws. If people want to drink and be stupid, let them go to California.
All of the reasons given to relax the laws sound like rationalizing to me.
"Alcohol shouldn't drive new business at the expense of public health,
Bird said." But alcohol in any form - beer, wine, or hard liquor is good
for you if used in moderation. Now if we are worried about public health we
should concentrate on tap water which is loaded with lots of bad stuff.
Leave the laws as is. Don't fix something that ain't broke.
The free market should decide the bulk of these issues. The fact is No one is
going to a restaurant to get drunk. Restaurants tend to charge premium prices
for adults beverages, your average social drinker is likely to only have one or
two drinks with dinner. Food absorbs alcohol. Allowing restaurants to serve
alcohol isn't a public safety issue. If the restaurant has a bar, sure have
the patrons order food at least after the firs drink is served. The Zion
curtain is a joke. Not even average Utah citizens were asking for it. It was a
simple punitive give/get measure that really meant nothing except to punish
those restaurants who wish to serve drinks. if you don't want you kids to
see a server mixing an adult beverage out in public, take them to Chuckle
Cheeses (btw, in most over states, CC serves beer).
Making alcohol more available just puts more money in the pockets of a few
liquor operatives and more people in hospitals, jails, and the morgue.The misery to family, friends, and loved ones, and the cost to the rest of us
is far beyond the "justifications" of selling it.
Can we not increase DUI's and still eliminate all but 10 pages of the 280
pages of liquor laws in Utah? That doesn't include all the rules DABC puts
out. I don't want to add DUI's but we don't need to be in the
business of retailing alcohol.