Before we all start foaming at the mouth (pun intended), I think we all need to sit down and think about this like adults. As adults we can drink, and we can also think rationally.

Utah's liquor laws are strict. Not as strict as, say, Iran's, but not as lenient as Nevada's. Mrichich already did a good job of laying out how they work, but I think we may be missing the "why they are" in the picture.

You probably think it's some vast, right wing Mormon conspiracy, but it it really isn't; after all, there are still strip clubs in Provo and Polygamists in the desert, so if there is an all-powerful "conspiracy" it's a pretty half-assed one. In fact, the senator who originally tendered the bills that says "3.2 PBV" and "no more than one serving" was a Catholic. Whoops.

But that's not the point I want to make here -- it to the uninitiated that the population of the state wants to make you, the responsible beverage drinker, not be able to have any fun. After all, the population did and does have a say on these laws and if no one objected, they must've supported them, right?

Not quite, actually. It turns out that in Wasatch Front area of Utah (where Salt Lake City is) is, as of current surveys, 60%-70% LDS (64% - 4% fudge). Ignoring the segment of those that are Jack, that's still a big voting populous. This is already established.

What we haven't established is what happens. As you know, a traditional "Mormon" doesn't drink alcohol. In fact, a lot of them have never had a drink or even set foot in a bar; it's just not a part of their lives. So guess what happens when a new bill comes up that restricts the use of alcohol.

They shrug.

I know this will sound hard to swallow, but they don't really care much, just like you really don't care about the price of tea in china. If a bill comes up that says "only one serving at a time" or "no more than 3.2% alcohol by volume", they will have no reference to what that actually means because it's just not something they pay attention to -- a "serving" could be a thimble or a keg for all some of them know, and 3.2% may be enough to strip paint but if you've never had a reason to care, well, you don't. It's the same thing as when you hear commentators on CSPAN arguing about fiscal policy in Bumsville, Iowa -- it doesn't have any bearing on your life.

So anyway, when an issue comes up, the Utah Mormon native will say "This doesn't apply to me, but I trust my {Congressman/party affiliation/gut instinct} and so I'll vote to get the "Last Call" time moved back to 1am." This is not because they want to spoil your fun, but because they really haven't had a reason to put much thought into it. It's a setup that allows many ultra-conservative laws to get into place that wouldn't otherwise be there if the voting demographic was fully understanding on the specific issues. If the votes were fully aware, most of them wouldn't support things like this, but since they're not always, they do a lot of the time.

There have been few "drinkers rights" campaigns in Utah, or anywhere else for that matter. Maybe there should be, but it's difficult for someone to take an issue seriously when your platform is "I wanna get hammered quicker". Again, it's a case of not understanding what's going on. However, checking Utah's records shows that it has been almost 5 years since anyone has lobbied to get any of these laws changed -- and if you're not fighting the system and the system wins, you have to examine yourself and eensy bit too.

So why, then, would a restaurant alienate it's clientele by making you ask for a wine list? Because they're not. Think about it -- they don't want to insult you by ignoring your ethyl intake requirements, but they also don't want to bother the other 90% of their clients that don't want to drink. Annoying customers is bad for business. More and more places are finally putting beer and wine selection on the menu or tables now, though, and that number will only begin to grow. The Floodgates are open.

Addt: If you came here looking for what the laws actually are verbatim, you need go no further than Utah State Code Title 32A, which can be found at ""