Friday, April 03, 2009

New drinking laws in Utah

Utah has finally stepped into post-prohibition era by relaxing some of its bizarre drinking laws. Here are a few of the laws that have been changed in the past year:
  • Mixed drinks can be made with a full jigger of alcohol (1.5 ounces) instead of 1.0 ounce. If you had weak drinks here, this could be why.
  • Utah legalized home brewing beer. There are still four states where it is illegal (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Oklahoma). I thought everyone in Kentucky had a still???
  • No more of the "Private Club" idiocy. If you have ever walked into a Utah bar, you were probably asked "are you a member?" You were supposed to pay a $5 fee to join the club for a year. This was true even for a tourist who just wanted a single beer. This was the stupidest law to deal with.
  • Bartenders are now allowed to serve drinks to people standing at bars. You would think this would make complete sense, but it was not the case. The "Zion Curtain" was a separation of bartenders and customers. You had to have a waiter or waitress bring the drink to you.
Just so you don't think Utah is too progressive, there are some things left:
  • Beer sold in grocery stores is limited to 3.2% alcohol. This eliminates lots of better beers. The state sells the stronger beers in their ABC stores.
  • Restaurants can't serve anything above 3.2% before noon. This isn't just Sundays, it's every day. So, stop for lunch at 11:30 and want a beer or a glass of wine? Dopey you. Find another state.
  • A brand new stupidity: if you build a new restaurant (existing ones are grandfathered), you have to make sure those little Mormon children don't see drinks being mixed. Apparently, if children see drinks being made, they will become alcoholics. Now, the same children are allowed to see people drink the drinks, even at their table. That's OK. The new restaurants have to build a wall so that children can't see bartenders mixing drinks. ARGH!!!
Congrats to the Utah government for making some positive changes. Shame on them for letting the LDS church have such an active role in the legal process. Separation of church and state is something that Utah completely ignores. Ninety percent of the Utah legislature is Mormon and they openly, actively go to the church for input on bills.
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