Ice Cream, Diet Coke and Smirnoff Ice
Original photo found at Fark.com
I’ve lived in Utah for 20 years now. Previous to that, I lived in California, specifically Garden Grove. In that state, liquor has always been sold at the local grocery stores, corner markets and superstores. Some of those superstores sell only alcohol. Others have multiple aisles with every known liquor brand you can think of.
Welcome To Utah
“What you say, LeVar… is this considered a main alcohol or a flavoring?”
Contrast that with Utah, where any distilled spirits (rum, vodka, gin, etc) are sold at State-owned and operated outlets. These outlets are only open 6 days a week, closed on every Sunday, holiday, election day and any other day they can muster up an excuse to shut their doors. Selections and brands that are stocked are at the discretion of a sole person that works at the Utah DABC. There may be others that offer up suggestions, but a single person is employed to order hard liquor for the entire state.
The laws are drawn up by mostly
teetotalers non-drinkers that sit on a board, then sent to the elected teetotalers Utah Legislature where most attend the dominant religion (Mormon), which discourages alcohol consumption (amongst other “bad for you” products). So just to sum that up, the laws discourage alcohol consumption because those that don’t drink don’t want others to drink. Got it? Ok… let’s move on.
Up until the first of May, bars, clubs and taverns (also known as private clubs) that serve hard alcohol could only serve a metered 1oz of the main alcohol in mixed drinks. So if you went to the bar and ordered a gin and tonic in a 6oz glass, you got 1oz of gin, ice filled to the top and the rest tonic water. On May 1st, bars are now allowed to serve 1.5oz (metered) of the main alcohol in each mixed drink.
This makes a common mixed drink a bit stronger, but bars can choose to continue to pour 1oz in each drink, which is another way of saying “we didn’t raise the prices of the drinks we serve.” The 1.5oz is just the main alcohol. Other spirits can be added via free pour (straight from the bottle with no meter attached) so long as they are labeled as “FLAVORING”. Such types deemed as flavoring are: schnapps, triple sec, flavored rums, vodkas and gins and amaretto, just to name a few.
What about grocery stores?
Going to a bar or the state store for your booze is not your only option to imbibe. You can get beer and wine coolers at the local Albertson’s, Smith’s and 7-Eleven. But there’s a catch. All beer and flavored beer (as they like to call wine coolers) cannot contain more than 3.2% alcohol, per volume. What this means is that you must purchase and consume a lot more alcohol to get that buzz, increasing the revenue for the state (yes, the state moderates all alcohol sold anywhere) and the size of your waistline (a 30 pack of Bud Light can be filling).
But, what the state giveth [in the form another another 1/2 oz of booze in your mixed drink], the state taketh away. Starting October 1st, it will be illegal for grocery stores to sell any 3.2% alcohol that is deemed an “Alcopop” [yes, that’s an actual term], or wine cooler/flavored beer, due to the fact that less than 1% of underage kids tried to purchase these at grocery and corner stores. Also, “The Church” and various elected officials have called Alcopops “…a gateway drug.” Never fear, alcopop lovers. The state store will be stocking the higher alcoholic content versions (read: a lot more than the 3.2% sold now) of Bacardi Silver, Smirnoff Ice and Tilt for purchase and consumption.
The End Result
With an effort to further prevent drinking, the state of Utah have passed laws and legislation that have:
- increased the amount of alcohol that you can have in a mixed drink
- increased the amount of alcohol in a wine cooler/flavored beer/alcopop you will be able to soon purchase at the State Store [albeit, not as convenient as visiting your local supermarket]
UPDATE: Recovery Connection is for those who are struggling with addiction.
So there you have it. Today’s lesson on alcohol in the state of Utah. I hope you enjoyed our discussion today.
NOTE: To those reading that are Utah residents that do not consume alcohol and belong to the dominant religion, do not worry. All flavors of ice cream and Diet Coke are not affected by the new laws and are still available for purchase at your local grocery stores.
So how liberal or archaic are the alcohol laws in your locale? Worse? Better? The same? Comment away.
I wonder if it’s actually effective? How does Utah rank in drunk driving fatalities? Hmmm…
The laws may be helping, but it’s hard to tell. Here’s some stats, current to 2006.
Washington State has state run liquor stores too. I think it’s funny how a lot of the conservative states and a lot of the liberal states end up having some of the same alcohol laws as each other, just for different reasons.
When I lived in Washington, my mom’s restaurant was a couple of doors from a state run liquor store. My dad thought the whole thing was a joke and just kept bitching to go home to CA. I’m not much of a drinker anymore but back then… all the kids from Bellevue that I ran with just took the booze from their rich parents’ well stocked bars.
Am going to mention this post to the mayor when I see her next month and get her to suggest adopting this here – Britain – Binge Drinking Capital of the known universe.
Just so long as they leave Southern Comfort alone I’m a happy bunny!
I went to college in Indiana, and the store we had to buy alcohol from wasn’t open on Sundays either. We went to a wedding of friends from college and they were in a panic because the liquor store wasn’t open for some reason the day before their wedding. They had planned to buy all the alcohol the day before, and since it was a backyard wedding and they were busy setting up, we ran to the store to get it all for them on our way to the wedding. We had to buy it in Illionis because the stores in Indiana near them were all still closed. I don’t actually know the laws of Indana as far as alcohol buying goes, but from those two experiences, I would say it is similar.
brandon – alcohol is treated as this legal taboo in a lot of states. Didn’t know Wash St. ran their own booze control.
winter – That’s how I got my alcohol as a kid. At 14, we stole it from my friend’s dad’s liquor cabinet. refilled the Bacardi dark rum bottle with warm ice tea. We never thought he would find out (he did and was fucking pissed). Then we resorted to giving bums outside the Hanshaw’s $10 to get us rum and vodka.
bec – Tightening up the laws could actually help if there is an issue with binge drinking. As far as I know, that’s not an issue here in Utah.
tori – That is one of the most frustrating things, even if you do plan ahead. I like the idea of a state that treats adults as adults. I think most places like Nevada and California have enough other deterrents in place for those concerned with underage drinking.
So the best part of this whole discussion you left off is the price difference on liquor/wine and especially beer at the liquor store. Wine and liquor are definitely more here, I would hate to say exorbitant, but it is higher. Beer on the other hand is outrageous, a case (24 bottle) of real Corona Extra will set you back about $45… just over $2 a bottle last time I looked. that is why I have resorted to home brewing beer…. After an initial investment of about $200 for the equipment, you can buy a kit that yields 5 gallons of “real” beer for about $30… When compared to Bud light at the grocery store it’s not a huge savings, but when compared to liquor store beer it is a huge savings. I can make a great tasting and very potent amber ale or cerveza for about $.95 a bottle, and that is buying a kit, if I bought all the ingredients separately and measured them out myself I could probably get the price down to $.80 a bottle.
If only I could find a good recipe and distill my own Crown or Jack I would be set…. well actually I would never be able to get Don or Marty out of my house……. LOL….
I remember moving to Pittsburgh in 1992 for my honeymoon and during the first week going into a gas station and asking “where’s the beer?” and the absolutely blank stare I received in return.
I mean, we have dry counties in Texas here and there but this was ridiculous.
kris – You are right… there’s so much more with the prices that I could have gone into more detail. And the prices are not that good of a deal. I mean, like you said, a real (non-3.2%) Corona Extra at the State Store is $2 a bottle. In Las Vegas, it’s $11 for a 12 pack at the AM/PM Mini Mart. At least the state allows home brewing. It would be a shame if they went after a portion of your “earnings” for the beer you made and drank.
And you are right, Don and I would camp out if you distilled Crown at home.
whall – New Jersey is the same way… no alcohol in the corner gas market. You are expecting more in those states and cities. And dry counties… they crack me up, because the next county over that sells alcohol has a giant store right on the edge of the county line.
According to Rott, next to BevMo, Hanshaw’s in Orange has the best stock of ales.
I’ve ordered collins mix from BevMo via mail order (well, not booze mail order – that’s another no-no in Utah, can’t have any alcohol shipped into the state) and love their selection. They rock!
I have fond memories of Hanshaw’s, and not just underage booze either.
We went to Florida for Spring Break this year and apparently where we were there a liquor issue or something. Everywhere we went had only WINE daquiris. ICK.
We found one place that had a SAKE daquiri, not great, but better than alot of the wine ones!!
I used to be shocked when I went to visit relatives in Southern states. “What is this ABC store of which you speak?”
A few years ago, a friend came to visit from Virginia. I showed her the liquor stores in California. Then I showed her the grocery store.
“Get out of here. You can buy liquor in the grocery store?”
“Yep. And they can sell until 2 am if they’re open then.”
She took photos to show the folks back home.
OK. More since I just read the other comments. Another fun Southern tidbit. The Jack Daniels distillery is in a dry county. You can tour the distillery but you cannot sample. How wrong is that?
dagny – The first time my fiance’s daughter saw the liquor aisle at the grocery store at midnight, and you could purchase it, she was beyond elated. Since I grew up with it, it was not a big deal to me, just a nice change when I visit California (or Nevada).
I think I had heard that somewhere about the Jack Daniel’s distillery. Wrong and odd.
In Ontario (Canada), you can generally only buy alcohol at bars and goverment controlled liquor/beer stores. It’s not so bad, as the gov’t stores have decent hours and good customer service.
Traditionally home-made, wine coolers have been bottled and sold by commercial distributors since the early 1980s, especially in areas where their lower alcohol content causes them to come under less restrictive laws than wine itself. Because most of the flavor in the wine is obscured by the fruit and sugar, the wine used in wine coolers tends to be of the cheapest available grade. ”
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