Pennies From Hell

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Do you know anyone who isn’t confused by the new DABC booze-pricing policy [“Booze Up,” July 5, City Weekly]? I don’t, although the fog is beginning to fade a bit. In a nutshell, it seems all that’s really changed is that whereas state tax was previously included in the marked price of say, a bottle of rum, now that tax is added on at the end of the sale.

Sort of. Because it’s not really state tax you’re now paying, but individual county taxes, which vary slightly from place to place. For most folks—like those in Salt Lake County—you’ll pay a 6.85 percent county tax on the retail price of whatever you buy. The bottom-line price that you pay for a bottle of liquor, wine or beer shouldn’t increase much over what it cost before the new pricing/taxing policy went into effect at the beginning of July.

For example, a bottle of Veille Ferme Ventoux Rouge used to cost me $6.95, tax included. Now the same wine in the county where I live sells for $6.57, plus a 6.6 percent tax of 43 cents, or $7, which means in this case the wine actually did go up a nickel—something I can live with.

This must be a real pain in the ass, though, for liquor- and wine-store cashiers who used to be able to deal in round numbers and now have to handle pennies. My last trip to the wine store totaled $38.02. I don’t recall ever having to come up with pennies at a Utah wine/booze outlet before.

What annoys me more than the seemingly unnecessary new pricing policy is that for the next couple of months—at least until September—Utah consumers won’t be buying any booze “on sale.” The monthly sales have been “put on hold” for a couple of months, apparently until the DABC can get a grip on the new monster that it’s created. So, not only does the six-pack of Negra Modelo Dark Ale that I pay $6.99 in Colorado for cost $11.76 here in Utah, but the bottle of Alice White Lexia that’s been on sale forever at the discount price of $4.95 here will cost me (and you) $7.01 for at least the next couple of months. That sucks.

Sips: Owner Keith Chan will host a Tour de France wine dinner at Monsoon Thai Bistro on Sunday, July 22. Chef Khaophone Thongphanh’s menu includes pad himmaparn stir-fry with cashews and chicken and cod in chu chee curry, along with pork tenderloin with apples and beets. Wine guy Joe Mattingly will lead the wine tour from Champagne to Alsace, then to Beaujolais, Burgundy and Bordeaux. The cost for the five-course dinner is $25 with optional wine pairings priced at $20. Monsoon Thai Bistro is located at 1615 Foothill Drive. Phone 583-5339 for reservations.

• A couple of weeks ago I mentioned enjoying a bottle of Robert Sinsky’s Abraxas wine up at Alta’s Shallow Shaft. I wasn’t even close to being accurate when I stated that he’d named the wine for Santana’s landmark album, Abraxas. About Abraxas, Rob Sinsky writes, “Its origins come from long before Carlos Santana was born. Abraxas was the Egyptian Gnostic god of the 365 heavens. He (or she) was the overlord of the lesser gods—each responsible for the days of the year. Since this wine is a direct result of and reflects the vintage year, Abraxas seemed like a good name for a wine. We almost didn’t call it that because we thought people might make the connection with the Santana album ... like you did.” Oops … 
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