Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

February 3, 2009

“They Still End Up Gettin’ Drunk” In Utah

by Brad Warbiany

Utah is a beautiful state. I have traveled there quite a few times over the last few years — I”ll be there next week, in fact — and am always struck by the amazing scenery available just traveling in the Salt Lake City area. I’ve driven through the salt flats, and have stayed up in Park City (albeit during the summer, not for skiing/snowboarding). It’s a gorgeous state. It’s also the fastest-growing state in the US, and has a strong growing business climate (which is what brings me there).

As a homebrewer and beer connoisseur, though, Utah doesn’t suit me. The domination of the state by the Mormon church has led to some of the most draconian alcohol laws in the US. My former home, Atlanta, although known itself for some strange blue laws, looks like Vegas when compared to Salt Lake City. In Utah, even homebrewing is illegal.

Luckily, it is not a dry state. Liquor is allowed, but the myriad of strange laws restricting its sale — described below by the bartender interviewed by Reason.tv’s Ted Balaker — are quite confusing. The below even leaves out the requirement of “joining the private club” within most bars in order to have access to the good stuff.

And as the bartender says, it doesn’t seem to stop anyone who desires from getting drunk. But I’m sure the Utah Department Of Alcoholic Beverage Control staff feel really good about their mission.

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