Articles

Utah Law Finally Acknowledges that Prohibition Ended Nearly 80 years Ago

In Crime, food/drink, legal issues/law/courts, search for personal satisfaction on March 19, 2009 by Editor Z

Well that is a bit of an exaggeration, but the state of Utah is moving closer to dropping some of its more onerous, frivolous, and downright ridiculous laws on drinking and entering bars or other establishments that furnish customers with liquor.

Utah is of course at least 58 percent Mormon and the Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints prohibits its followers from consuming alcohol. The laws that required patrons of bars to be members of a club or pay a fee to be allowed to frequent bars will be abolished.

These laws were intended to prohibit excessive consumption of alcohol or “bar hopping”, but as always occurs when any government attempts to regulate the behavior of those it serves, those who want badly enough will fashion or discover a way to circumvent those laws.

The regulations on drinking are set to be removed this Summer. Now I can drink to that.

If you want to see the broad web of Utah state liquor regulations take a look at the Utah state Statues on alcohol.

Yahoo News:

SALT LAKE CITY – Guy walks into a bar in Utah — and easily gets a drink.

Come this summer, that simple scenario will become a reality: No special fees, club memberships or partitions required.

After more than 40 years, some of the strictest — and strangest — liquor laws in the nation are being hustled out the barroom door, yet another sign that even a state dominated by teetotaling Mormons is willing to reconsider decades-old mores if it helps the economy.

No longer will bartenders be separated from customers by a glass partition known as a “Zion Curtain.” And patrons won’t have to join a social club or pay a membership fee before entering bars.

“Having to pay $5 or $10 to join a club to drink any kind of alcoholic beverage is absurd,” said Mark Caraway, a San Diego businessman who travels to Salt Lake City at least once a month.

Tourists frequently leave bars and restaurants here after becoming flummoxed at what it takes to get a drink. And the state’s tourism industry has frequently complained that the liquor laws send lucrative conventions and skiers fleeing to neighboring Colorado.
“We were told that some places would require us to buy a license to buy alcohol. We were kind of dumbfounded by it all,” said Gary Catlett, who was drinking a beer at the Park City Mountain Resort after skiing while on vacation from Houston.

While not technically requiring a license, Utah does require anyone entering a bar to be a member of the club or a member’s guest. At most bars, anyone can become a member by paying a state-ordered fee for a three-week pass that costs at least $4. An annual membership costs at least $12. And a separate membership is required at each bar.

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