Utah Changes Liquor Law

Utah legislators have eliminated Utah’s private club system

Utah Changes Liquor Law // (c) 2009

 Utah makes changes to liquor laws

Long known for its conservative drinking regulations, Utah legislators recently made progressive changes to the state’s liquor laws, notably the elimination of the state’s 40-year-old private club system.

Beginning July 1, clubs and bars will no longer be required to charge patrons a membership fee or have them fill out a membership application form in order to enter a drinking establishment. (Membership fees typically started at $12 per year, and a different membership was required for each bar.)

The move follows Utah landmark liquor law change in 2008 — which increased the amount of a single shot by 50 percent, from one ounce to 1½ ounces.

While Utah has long been home to brew pubs, watering holes and master mixologists, 2009 signifies an evolutionary change for locals and visitors alike.

The changes to the state’s liquor law are, in large, a move to increase tourism to Utah, which presently brings in about $7 billion a year.

“With all of the new changes in our liquor laws, guests will no longer be able to use antiquated alcohol rules as a reason to shy away from a [Utah] vacation, meeting or convention,” said Bill Malone, CEO and president of the Park City Chamber/Visitors Bureau. “While it will be difficult to measure the economic effect that these changes will have, we know for sure that it’s one less obstacle for us to overcome in attracting visitors.”

Nearly 80 percent of Utah lawmakers and approximately 60 percent of the state’s residents are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which asks its congregation refrain from drinking alcohol, according to MSNBC.

Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Park City Chamber of Commerse & Visitors Bureau