Liquor and those Crazy Utahans

Sometimes you have to highlight certain tidbits in the news for no other reason than a good laugh is a good prescription to a long day:

“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.

7 Responses

  1. Doug Wilder - September 7, 2012

    My favorite story about the alcohol laws in Utah was from a summer road trip that found me taking the chairlift to the top of Snowbird. After descending we stopped at the lofge to get lunch and a cocktail. The window near the front door of the restaurant/club had a sign announcing an Alcohol Warning with the special instructions that this warning be displayed ‘in a conspicuous manner’. Once inside I was happy to see that all of the waitresses had the announcement printed across the upper portion of their t-shirt uniforms…

  2. Lauren Ackerman - September 10, 2012

    The really ludicrous thing is that gun sales into and out of Utah are much more relaxed than alcohol sales. We had an order for a case of wine that took the state 7 months to process — if that had been a case of guns, a totally different story…

  3. Sal - September 10, 2012

    These are the beginnings of similar laws used in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq etc. Where guns are abundant and liquor is prohibited and sometimes the inevitable punishment of death with guns!!

  4. B Peterson - September 11, 2012

    I tried to enter a club across from the old Salt Palace in 1986 with my US passport to document my age (I was 24 at the time) and was turned away by the doorman because it was not a recognized form of ID!!!
    Funny part is it list Utah as my place of birth.

  5. B Peterson - September 11, 2012

    There even YouTube’s pointing out the absurdity.

  6. Martin Slavin - September 13, 2012

    I work at a winery where we ship wine to every state in the union, except Utah. We ship to Alaska and Hawaii, over great distances, and PA, MA, and Ohio with their very screwy laws. But there is no way to ship to Utah.

  7. Ibukun - September 24, 2012

    Following from Lauren’s comment about gun sales in this state I myself am confused. It they are very strict with the drinking of alcohol then they should also be strict with the sale of guns!

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