The Next Liquor Fight | Buzz Blog

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Next Liquor Fight

Posted By on April 14, 2009, 3:45 PM

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If you are sitting back and enjoying a martini, basking in the aftermath of the Legislature’s repeal of private clubs, it’s time to get off your barstool. There’s another fight to be taken up—this time on behalf of beer drinkers.

Thankfully there is already someone leading the charge. Ross Metzger of tributetobeer.com is circulating a petition asking the Utah DABC to put refrigeration units in liquor stores. The petition can be found on a link from his Website.

Metzger speaks the agony of all Beehive State beer drinkers when he writes, “Consumers are tired of paying a premium in Utah for beer that has gone bad!” Beer, good beer, is a living organism, like yogurt. Exposed to high temperatures it spoils—and quickly. Every Utah beer drinker has had the experience of buying a spendy bottle of heavy beer at the liquor store only to discover it’s skunky. The lack of refrigeration has an equally bad side effect of causing many craft breweries to boycott Utah for fear the DABC will ruin their beer and brand name. You can’t buy New Belgium beer in Utah for example thought it’s made in neighboring Colorado.

It took a while (75 years give or take) to get Utah lawmakers to understand the rudimentary basics of a cocktail. This fight will likely be as difficult. In recent year’s some Utah lawmakers have toyed with the idea of outlawing beer refrigeration not just in state liquor stores but in grocery stores and convenience stores as well under the theory that cold bottles will cause people to cracking bottles open during the drive home.

If scientific arguments don’t win the day for beer refrigeration, the financial argument should. Metzger points out that the DABC’s lack of refrigerated storage means that getting the best beers into Utah requires smuggling from other states. And that means no taxes (or huge liquor store markup) for Utah.

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On a side note, Metzger’s “consumer advocate” organization may have the best mission statement ever written. In part, it states, Tribute to Beer “is committed to bring both knowledge and a voice to Utah consumers through the foundation of a unified beer drinking community and through political activism.”

“Purpose … to build a community of people who enjoy drinking beer.”

“Values … life liberty and beer.”

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