Liquor and those Crazy Utahans
“Bars and restaurants cannot advertise that drink specials are, in fact, drink specials. They can offer “Margarita Tuesdays” and “Two Dollar Drafts…they cannot explicitly say that it is a “drink special.” “Happy Hours” are also not allowed under Utah law”
This is the conclusion drawn by Allen Whittle, the president of the Utah Hospitality Association and owner of Bogey’s Social Club after the Association came to a settlement with the state in a lawsuit they filed. The Utah Hospitality Association sued the state of Utah over a law that banned the states “social clubs” from offering daily drink specials.
The Hospitality Association sued the state claiming “the law is ‘unconstitutionally vague’ because it didn’t define what discount means and what prices constitute the promotion of over-consumption,” according to the Dessert News.
Also in response to the lawsuit’s settlement Kyle Kaiser, Assistant Attorney General, noted the following:
“Utah is a liquor control state, and the state has the authority to place reasonable restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages to help prevent over-consumption,”
And thus: You can have a “Margarita Tuesday” or “Two Dollar Drafts”, but you may not advertise them as “specials”
Presumably, to suggest a “drinks special” is in the works or to suggest a “happy hour” is coming up is both a “reasonable restriction” and a guard against “over-consumption”.
I’m guessing none of you readers will be terribly shocked to find out that these new verbiage restrictions are likely to lead to another lawsuit citing violations of the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech.
The Utah Hospitality Association notes that its original lawsuit was filed in part to draw attention to the fact that the Church of Latter Day Saints has near exclusive control over Utah’s liquor laws. Maybe. But that doesn’t explain the often equally absurd laws that you find in states where little or no influence over liquor laws is given to Mormons.
It’s a better idea to simply chalk up another one to Crazy.