Annual Utah Liquor Omnibus Bill Roundup: Part 2

Second half of the liquor law roundup begins here:

Roundup Part 1 is here.

  • Temporary closures can be had by written request (not new), but now instead of just 30 days, can go up until the next Commission hearing. This will prevent some of the quickest Special Commission Meetings I’ve ever attended from happening. Yay!
  • “The department may not base a determination that a retail licensee has ceased operation solely upon the retail licensee’s lack of sales.” That’s what I tried to tell them last year… good to see it’s the law now, not just my argument!
  • Audits are switching from “each calendar year” to “annually.” Makes sense.
  • We’ve changed from “of age” to “old”; so, 21 years old instead of 21 years of age in various places.
  • Off-premise beer retailers (groceries/gas stations) have more restrictions on gambling & letting people use or distribute drugs. Making them police their premises a bit more.
  • Removed a whole bunch about local authorities dealing with violations – it’s more handled by the state now.
  • Added four new resort licenses, bringing us up to eight. The total number of licenses issued under the provisions applicable to a bar establishment license.” This means we should get some more bar licenses available. Woot woot.
  • Wineries, breweries, and distilleries are explicitly allowed to direct-ship to customers over 21 who live out of state. So they’re required to know the end customer is 21 now, as they could do this before, but it didn’t note the “at least 21 years old” before.
  • Warehouses are now allowed to transfer their licenses through the state (used to have to have buyers apply for a new one).
  • Whole new section for transferring licenses! For one, you can’t “ascribe[] any value in the sale or transfer of a business entity or the business entity’s assets” and the license “is neither tangible nor intangible property to the holder of the license.”
  • Once a license is transferred – for no “value”, so not sure how that will happen – the new operator has to start new operations within 30 days, or get an extension from the DABS, and then the Commission if “circumstances beyond control” of the new owner exist.
  • “Except as provided in Subsection (4)(b) if the commission approves a change of ownership, the new owner of the alcohol license shall begin operations of the alcohol license at the location to which the alcohol license applies before the new owner may move the alcohol license to a different location in accordance with Part 3, … (4)(a) does not apply to a new owner of an alcohol license if the commission determines that a bona fide exigent circumstance exists that warrants a change in location before operations begin.”
  • So, if you want to transfer a license, you’re going to have to operate at the old location for an undetermined period of time, and then move it. Just making transfers harder here. And calling it “change of ownership” instead of a “transfer”.
  • Takes out all the fee language for transfers, just making it the same as the renewal fee, and sending that $$ to the Liquor Services Fund.
  • Before the Commission will approve a change of location, it will “consider the locality” you want to move to.
  • Change of location fee is set at $300.

All this set to take place June 1, 2022.

Full liquor law recap here.

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