State Lawmaker Working On 3.2 Beer Bill | KUER 90.1

State Lawmaker Working On 3.2 Beer Bill

Aug 29, 2017

Republican Sen. Jerry Stevenson on Tuesday told KUER he is working on a bill regarding the sale of low-point beer sold in grocery and convenience stores.

State law currently requires convenience stores to only sell beer with 3.2 percent alcohol by weight. Anything stronger has to be purchased at a state-run liquor store. 

Stevenson said it’s too early to provide details about his legislation, but said he’s had "six or seven" meetings with stakeholders about the issue.

"We need to take a hard look at the economics of it," Stevenson said, adding that for some rural Utah convenience stores, beer sales account for up to 40 percent of total revenue. 

"We also need to look at how it affects people that are driving under the influence," Stevenson said. 

In the past year, three states have voted to allow stronger beer in grocery stores, which means after 2019, Utah and Minnesota will be the only states that sell 3.2 percent beer.

Brewing giants Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors have said the drop in demand will affect production and may give Utahns fewer types of beer and malt beverages to choose from. 

Stevenson said he wants to be proactive about the change, but “we’re trying to formulate where we really need to move this policy.”