Utah liquor laws

Nicole Nixon

Many of the new laws passed during this year’s legislative session take effect Tuesday. That includes some changes to Utah’s liquor laws,with which business owners in the food and drink industry are still coming to terms.

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Gov. Gary Herbert has signed a bill to overhaul the state’s liquor laws. Meanwhile, state regulators are already preparing to work through the changes.

Nicole Nixon

When Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, unveiled House Bill 442 earlier this week, he quickly ran into pushback from restaurant groups.  Many had concerns about having a choice limited to keeping up 7-foot barriers known as ‘Zion Curtains’ or instituting a 10-foot child-free buffer zone around a bar, what’s now being referred to as a ‘Zion Moat.’

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Two Republican lawmakers are reportedly working on a bill that would allow the so-called “Zion Curtains” to come down in restaurants.

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Sales at Utah liquor stores have been climbing steadily for years, and they’re set to break records again for 2016.

Study Finds Salt Lake City Lacks Affordable Housing

Aug 18, 2016
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A new report by the Downtown Salt Lake City Alliance finds the city lacks affordable housing for young and low-income workers. 

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Democratic State Senator Jim Dabakis says if Utah lawmakers don’t take action this year to loosen up liquor laws, he’s going to launch a ballot initiative to privatize liquor sales in the state.

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Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s state budget office has made a list of recommendations to shape up the state’s liquor agency. The recommendations are intended to deal with declining employee morale and poor management of inventory and distribution in Utah liquor stores.

Photo courtesy Jay Yahne

Utah liquor officials say they're not ready to give a brandy distillery special permission to sell mini-bottles of liquor. Instead they want state lawmakers to step in and settle Utah's complex alcohol-sampling laws.

Republican Senator John Valentine is well known for his involvement with shaping Utah’s liquor laws, but he’s now voicing some regret about the legislation he sponsored.

Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert has nominated Senator John Valentine to be the chair of the state tax commission. The move means one of Utah’s longest serving legislators will have to resign.

It's Now Legal to Sell a Utah Liquor License

Jul 1, 2014

  Starting today, it’s legal for bar or restaurant owners to sell their liquor licenses in Utah.  KUER’s Dan Bammes reports the change is meant to keep transactions above board.

The Transfer of License Act was passed by the Utah legislature three years ago.  The sponsor was Republican State Senator John Valentine, who says the idea was to stop the under-the-table transactions that often accompanied the sale of a business.

Market Street Broiler and Oyster Bar Near U Closes

Apr 2, 2014

A restaurant near the University of Utah has closed, and a liquor license may be opening up. The Market Street Broiler shut its doors Monday, though it had only recently opened an oyster bar upstairs with a newly granted club license.

  A report done for the Utah legislature shows the social problems associated with alcohol are decreasing.  But the legislator behind the report says it would be hard to justify changes in Utah’s liquor laws based just on the report’s findings.

Brian Grimmett

On the first day of the 2014 legislative session, Republican leaders in the Utah Senate say there is little support for changing Utah’s liquor laws this year— specifically those laws dealing with the so-called “Zion Curtain” and a requirement that restaurant patrons announce their intent to eat food before ordering alcoholic beverages.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  A top leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says Utah’s liquor laws are just fine the way they are.  But that may not stop further attempts to change them during the upcoming legislative session.