This doesn't really make sense to me. 4% by volume is still extremely low. I guess if you only drink session beer or cheap macro beer it won't make much of a difference, but in my time spent living in Colorado i never ever ever drank beer with less than 6%. Actually most people I knew were similar to me. It is also worth noting that Budweiser and Coors are usually around 5.1 which is considerably more than what this article is suggesting. So this statement, "big-name brews like Budweiser and Coors are only .4-.5 percent stronger," is completely incorrect. 5.1% is actually 1.1% difference, but with so many options available in Colorado I only bought gas station beer once or twice in three years. It is extremely difficult to get a buzz off of 3.2% beer. I typically have to drink 15 Utah beers very quickly and with the help of whiskey to get the same buzz as a six pack of normal beer (what people out here call liquor store beer or full strength beer).
Now this wouldn't be so much of a problem in Utah if the DABC didn't have a monopoly on the market. Yes we have liquor stores in Utah where normal beer is available, but options are extremely limited. They also sell the beer warm to prevent drinking and driving despite the fact that there is already a law in place for drinking and driving. Also hard liquor, which they sell in the same room, is typically consumed at room temperature so they aren't really doing anybody any favors by selling warm beer. Prices are also a big problem. I've noticed that many beers above 7.5% can cost up to three dollars per bottle aside from the Devastator, and Hop Rising. So a six pack of beer in my range can cost me 18 dollars. This is abhorrent compared to a six pack of the same beer for the eight to twelve dollars that I am used to spending.
Probably my biggest issue with the state liquor laws is how they discriminate against tap beer. I refuse to drink low percentage beer because it doesn't seem to have an effect on me and doesn't taste as good so I'm not going to waste my money. As a result I can't buy tap beer in Utah and that really irks me. Tap beer always tastes better and has a better texture than bottled beer. It also really limits the beer that is available to me at drinking establishments. If they don't serve normal bottled beer I don't go there. This goes for one of my favorite restaurants at the mouth of big cottonwood canyon called the Porcupine. I do a lot of climbing and as a climber we always like to grab a beer and some food after a long multi pitch route, and the Porcupine has a lot of that outdoor sporting appeal and is in a great location for us nature lovers. The food is also amazing so it's a damn shame I can't enjoy a simple beer at this establishment.
The DABC is taking money that should be going to local businesses. Their liquor stores have terrible business practices like being closed pretty much all the time. I hear many people trying to defend these laws by saying you can just buy your beer before one of the many closing times like Sundays and holidays (Columbus day? really?). But this isn't practical in the real world. I don't plan when I'm going to drink. I don't have a drinking itinerary. I work graves and weekends so I don't really distinguish between days the same way as other people. I shouldn't have to mark it on my calendar, it should just be open till 11:00pm every day of the week on every corner in every city.
So really we have a lot to bitch about and our bitching is totally justified. There is no defense, and there is no excuse. The DABC should be abolished, and the market for alcohol privatized. It would create more jobs, more local businesses, and prospective outside business in Utah. The breweries in Utah are oppressed by state regulations. Epic Brewing Company is a great example since they have moved their main operations to Colorado to escape the stringent laws in the Mormon state. (they even created an IPA named "Escape to Colorado"). So the state is really losing money despite the DABC touting all the revenue they are generating for the state which could be going to private owners. Just to order my favorite beers I have to buy them in bulk and go through a bit of a process including an overhead fee charged by the DABC. I can't even find the beer I like in this state. There are no barrel aged sours in Utah, and when I bring it up with the liquor store staff and they don't even know what I am talking about. They walk you over to a sour apple saison which isn't even close to the same thing. It's something I am used to now but it really has lead to a lot of awkward moments that left a bad taste in my mouth while trying to enjoy a night out. It is bad all around, especially for businesses like breweries, restaurants, and bars. It also effects tourism in many ways as people from out of state are confused about the integrity of their drinks that are being poured in secret behind a wall. It's just bad all around.
There is no myth, we know what we want, and it isn't lightweight beer that has little to no effect.
Salt Lake City Weekly
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