Leader Of The Banned
Almost a year ago, I blogged about Utah’s liquor laws, and the removal of flavored beers or “alcopops” from the grocery and convenience stores. At the end of the post, in response to this decision, I said:
“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.”
Well, something happened to change that. Let me go into detail.
The new law [which went into effect October 1, 2008] was designed to remove the temptation from underage drinkers spotting a wine cooler at the grocery store [which is just a clever way for lawmakers and teetotalers to hide their agendas behind the “protecting the children” mantra], while jacking up the prices that they would sell for at the state-run liquor stores. [the real reason for this “ban”]
But something happened after the bill was passed. The companies that make these beverages found a requirement that seemed a bit much. New labels needed to be put on the flavored beverages sold in Utah. These labels needed to state that such flavored alcoholic products contained alcohol. Huh? Come again?
Let’s see if I understand this. Utah tells grocers they cannot sell Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Silver anymore. Utah then says these drinks will be available at their state-run liquor stores, which sell only products containing alcohol. Yet, they need a label stating these beverages “contain alcohol” for what reason? Once again, those who do not drink or who have never drank should not be making the laws concerning alcohol.
So out of the top three brands: Tilt, Bacardi Silver and Smirnoff Ice, only Smirnoff Ice complied enough with new labels so they could sell their product at the state liquor stores. They are the higher alcoholic content versions other states like Nevada and California sell. But their price went up. A lot. A six-pack of Smirnoff Ice went for $7.99 at the grocers. Now it’s $12.21 at the state store, which makes it about $2 a bottle. During my last visit to another state that sells Smirnoff Ice, the exact same six-pack sells for $6.99 at the grocery store. That’s an 85% markup. Ouch.
The company that produces Bacardi Silver [Anheuser-Busch] told Utah they would most likely not be selling their product here in the state due to the new label requirements. And Tilt, also produced by Anheuser-Busch, is not here, even though the label on the cans I purchased outside of Utah do clearly state they contain alcohol.
What part of “Contains Alcohol” is not clear?
What’s Available Then?
Ok, now I’m sure some of you may be asking, “Is there still alcohol left to buy there in Utah?” Sure there is. The grocery stores still sell 3.2% and 4.0% beer, some of the brands being flavored [the flavoring has to be part of the brewing process, like with Bud Light Lime], and the state-run liquor stores sell hard alcohol like vodka, rum, gin, wine and tequila. These choices are plentiful for any adult who wishes to imbibe. But my main complaint regarding the banning and new requirements for the flavored alcoholic beverages seems odd, especially when you consider you can get much harder alcohols without much trouble.
For fans of Smirnoff Ice or Bacardi Silver, you either need to pay the increased cost at the Utah state liquor store or take a 2 hour drive either east or west of Utah to get your wine cooler fix.
To see the details, here’s a news article from October 2008 that explains the basic changes: Utah first in nation to ban flavored beers
Utah has some bass ackwards liquor laws, eh?!
sybil law – We have made some recent changes that make them less backwards, but this one sticks out as one of the odd ones sticking around.
Hmmm…. Well I know how much you like Tilt, and I have tried it several times thinking that it can’t be that bad if Marty likes it (since we agree on what seems like every other alcoholic drink), and I have come to the conclusion that maybe they decided not to sell it in the liquor stores be cause it doesn’t taste good… LOL… They also don’t sell Brass Monkey or Thunderbird in the state liquor stores… I’m just saying….
I guess Rum & Diet Coke will have to do for my next visit….
Last night at dinner we were talking about different state liquor laws and I have to say, I am always floored when I hear about this stuff. Having grown up in the land of heathens (because booze is available from 10am-2am in California), none of this seems reasonable to me. Yanno, especially labeling the booze as booze when you can only get it in the booze store!
breakaway9 – LMAO… ok, so Tilt is not for *everyone* (or Brass Monkey and Thunderbird, too). We’ll always have Crown and Coke.
ren – I should note that any of the bars and clubs (which most will be doing away with the private club rule on July 1st) you can get pretty much any drink you want. Same with restaurants, although there’s some odd restrictions there.
hilly – It really boils down to treating adults like adults. I grew up knowing booze was available at the corner store and no one blinked an eye about it. In my over 20 years in Utah, eyes blink all the time when a drink gets poured. Although, some changes to that have happened over the years. It’s not Cali (and may never be), but it’s getting better.
Speaking of drinks we need to get together for some of those raspberry mojitos again SOON… or at least some Gumbys… :o)
That seems crazy. Indiana has all sorts of laws similar to that. At least they did when I was in college and it was very annoying.
Having different laws for different states is something that has always puzzled me since I moved here from England. Just bizarre.
breakaway9 – The mint plant is growing a lot. Raspberry mojitos will be served very soon. Maybe even this weekend, as a test run to get me back in practice.
tori – I’ve looked up other states laws and there’s some really weird ones out there. Very annoying indeed.
kevin – I think when the feds try not to get involved, they pass it off to the states. Like marriage and drinking laws.
yep, our liquor laws are severely f*cked up…and now that Huntsman is headin’ out I fear we’ll be back to prohibition in no time. Not to get political or anything…but Herbert is an überdouche! But at least the sheeple will be happy!
I do like the Bacardi “malt beverages”…but there’s no way in hell I’m paying almost double for ’em. Guess I’ll stick to my vodka dew XD
Wait. So, you’re telling me now that the iron curtain or purple curtain or whatever the hell that curtain looks like has fallen, I may not be able to get the drink of my choice because it doesn’t clearly say alcohol on it? Hmmm, I’m rethinking my yet-to-be-planned vacation in your state, my friend.
Up here in Washington we have some stupid liquor laws too, but for the opposite reason. You have the church going all right wing, we have the uber-liberals to blame in a lot of cases all citing “the children” as the reason.
alex – I used to like those Bacardi Silvers, especially when Smith’s or Albertson’s had them on sale. And Smirnoff Ice is good, too. But as you said, not at double the cost. Sticking with the hard alcohol here.
nilsa – Well, some of the changes to the laws have actually normalized some of the quirks. For example, the Zion Curtain is no longer needed. This was a glass barrier that was placed at some of the restaurants as a barrier between the diner and the alcohol serving area. Now that it’s gone, you can go into a restaurant and order a drink and they can serve it to you across the bar. So rest assured that any future visits you are planning to the state of Utah, you can get a drink of your choice (even wine coolers).
brandon – “the children” We get that here, too, but you are right.. it’s mostly a single organized religion that controls the laws. Although, their influence has very slightly been reduced in recent years.
Note: the following comment may contain nudity, sarcasm, wit, a preponderance of common sense, typos, an incite to riot, urges to visit offsite blogs whose domain names ending in hall.org, and may cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, cotton mouth, open sores, anal leakage, and possibly death.
Alcoholic content: 0 proof
Contains no preservatives
Dude, that sucks.
whall – LOL… love the contents list. And if it wasn’t for the availability of hard liquor, I’d be a sober guy when at home (out of town, different story)
LEGALIZE ALCOHOL FOR ALL AGES! That takes away the stigma!
(I am, of COURSE, kidding.)
poppy – Hey, my aunt used to give my nephew some whiskey to help him when he had toothaches.