Greenspoon Marder Hospitality, Alcohol & Leisure Blog: 1.8% Apparently Makes All The Difference-A Beer Update
Hospitality, Alcohol & Leisure Blog
Nov 4, 2019
Louis J. Terminello, Esq.
As of November 1, Utahans can now pick up a 5% a/b/v 6 pack of beer while shopping for groceries. Governor Gary Hubert signed SB 132 into law this past March overturning the state’s 86 year law which permitted only 3.2% beer to be sold at grocery. Stronger beers will have to be purchased at state run liquor stores only (as they have been for years).
The 5% a/b/v mark is the lowest in the country but apparently producers, retailers and consumers alike have responded enthusiastically to the change. The uptick in alcohol content has paved the way for new beers to enter the Utah grocery marketplace with over 100 new products coming into the state.
As part of the legislative compromise for the bill’s passage Utah will increase the state excise tax on beer from $12.80 a barrel to $13.10 with the extra monies being allocated to enforcement.
Interestingly the 86 year old law finds its roots in the Cullen-Harrison Act passed by Congress on March 21st 1933, a short 9 months prior to the repeal of prohibition. The Act, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt the next day, legalized the sale of 3.2% beer (and similarly low proof wine) across the United States. Upon signing the legislation Roosevelt, it is rumored, remarked “I think this would be a good time for a beer.” After 86 years of 3.2% beer it seems like it’s a good time for a beer in Utah too.
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