Annual Utah Liquor Omnibus Bill Roundup: Part 1

Remember this is my first pass over this new liquor legislation. It’s possible I get something completely wrong. Unlikely, but possible. If you have specific questions, I’m taking new clients… Let’s go!

Roundup Part 2 is here. 

  • BEER! Remember in Utah beer is less than 5% ABV and can be sold in groceries and on tap. Changes –now must be “clearly marketed, labeled and identified as beer” and cannot contain any liquor or wine or TCH-type ingredients. None. Not even a trace amount of any of these items.
  • This is why those seltzers are going off the grocery & to the state stores. Beer’s alcohol has to come from “malt or a malt substitute”.
  • “Flavored Malt Beverage” scraps our old definition & just points to the federal definition (you have to have TTB approval, so might as well use the fed’s approval).
  • Added a new definition, “Malt Substitute”, which means “rice, grain, bran, glucose, sugar, or molasses.”
  • Added that IDs issued “in accordance with federal law by the United States Department of State” are ok.
  • Added a “Spa sublicense”, to the types of sublicense hotels can get, in addition to the existing sublicenses of bar, restaurant, and catering (i.e., room service). Resorts already got to have these.
  • Very specific additions to the arena license, allowing it to add a sublicense even if it doesn’t meet proximity requirements, so long as it’s been operating for ten years.
  • Adds that labeling of malt beverages must be “in obvious and clearly visible contrast” (so just making sure everyone in the grocery really, really knows they’re buying 4.9% alcohol)
  • If your malt beverage label is denied approval by the DABS, you have to respond within 20 days (before it was vague how long you had) with why your label should be approved, and while you’re waiting on your appeal, the revocation “shall remain in force.”
  • BTW, I’m leaving out the many, many updates to the Code where they change “Control” to “Services” as it’s so many times and won’t affect consumption or sales – right?
  • The Commission now gets to make rules about late renewals! Before, was really harsh, and missing renewal = lost license. New rules will likely set late fees, more sensible. The new law does require that the latest you can be late is ten days late, better than no days late.
  • Takes out the section saying the DABC(S!) has to deposit .125% gross revenue into the liquor fund.
  • Changes how controlled groups of manufacturers’ volume totals are calculated, so there might be better entry into getting the reduced markup on taxes, which could mean lower prices for items from Utah producers!
  • Package agent applicants have to submit “any information” the DABS requires. That’s broad, but most of the other applications already have this language.
  • Aside: PAs are being asked for credit reports. A client with outlets in 30 other states says they’ve never been asked for a credit report, ever. But the law in Utah is that we have to give them whatever they ask to have the privilege of selling alcohol here!
  • This is cool: local manufacturers no longer have to have a bar/restaurant in order to have Sunday/holiday sales! That’s good news for places that just want to sell their products, not make meals or run a bar.
  • Applications: now you have to submit “every license the local authority requires”, not just the business license, to get any retail (bar, restaurant, etc.) license. This includes sexually oriented business licenses, probably tobacco sales licenses; I’m sure there are others.
  • Codifies that managers have been trained by the DABS; this was already required, but now it’s in the application laws.
  • BIG application change: rather than submit 20+ items when applying, don’t have to submit insurance info – so bars waiting in line don’t have to carry insurance on non-existent businesses before they open, which is nice. Menus & manager training also can wait until ready.
  • Spirits used as “flavorings” whether in deserts or drinks don’t have to be metered through a berg device but do have to stay in a “designated” location & be labeled.
  • We have codification for off-premise beer sales from restaurants & bars!! “A retail licensee may sell, offer for sale, or furnish beer for off-premise consumption: (i) in a sealed container; and (ii) in a size of container that does not exceed two liters.”
  • BUT you have to consume “food prepared, sold, and furnished” at said bar/restaurant first before taking beer away.

All this is set to take place on June 1, 2022.

Full liquor law recap here.

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