Utah legislators look at possible changes to state beer laws

LOGAN – Unless the legislature does something soon, the selection of 3.2 percent beer in Utah’s convenience and grocery stores could be dwindling. In fact, without legislative action Utah could soon become one of only two states that maintain the 3.2 percent beer mandate.

With other states getting rid of the mandate, it won’t be feasible for beer producers to make the 3.2 percent beer for such a small percentage of their consumers. Utah consumers would notice less beer on grocery store shelves.

Utah Republican State Senator Lyle Hillyard of Logan said a Dan Jones poll shows 49 percent support allowing higher alcohol beer in stores while 45 percent oppose it.

If beer becomes unavailable in grocery stores due to lack of production, the liquor stores will be the main suppliers.

“The liquor stores are going to be inundated and not able to handle it,” Hillyard said. “Now, currently, you buy beer in a grocery store. So the question is: Do we increase the amount of alcohol in beer that can be sold in a grocery store and not swamp the liquor store and thus make it more available to the general public?”

Hillyard said he will have to hear more from all sides before deciding how he would stand on the issue.

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