As November begins Utah’s beer drinkers are welcoming in drinks with alcohol content above 3.2%.
Terry Wood, Public Information Officer with the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control says the organization did their best to move the 3.2% beer out of the state liquor stores before the state legislatures-imposed deadline of Halloween. The deadline was to prevent competition with the state liquor store and commercial beer sellers. Wood said they moved a lot of product with signs in the liquor stores and dropping prices dramatically.
“Park City had some left actually,” Wood said. “The three stores and the club and restaurant warehouse in Park City. The club and restaurant warehouse had a pretty good supply on hand that show the warehouse sent it out to the three other stores in the Park City area just a couple of days ago, but we did pretty well.”
Wood guessed the DABC sold about half of what they had left on Halloween. They plan to get rid of leftover 3.2 beer the same way the state agency gets ride of other products.
“We dispose of product that has gone bad sometimes,” Wood explained. “Beer that’s past its sell by date, sometimes we have wine that has a bad cork in it and that taints the wine. We take it out to the city dump here in Salt Lake City. We have two people go out there together, so a case doesn't bump off the back of the truck accidentally. Then we make sure that the workers at the dump with the big bulldozers cover it over before we get the paper signed and leave.”
Although the deadline from the state legislature for the state liquor stores has passed, local grocery and convenience stores can continue to sell their stock of 3.2 beer, although many are anxious to add stronger beer.
“Most of them had stocked up pretty well beforehand,” Wood continued. “They could not put it out until midnight, but a lot of them said well you know we're not going to come in at midnight and stock our shelves, wait until first thing in the morning. So, what they wanted to buy before will now be fine if it's under 4.0 alcohol by weight or 5.0 alcohol by volume. If it's under that, they’ll find it in the grocery and convenience stores.”
If you want beer above the 4% alcohol by weight, you’ll still have to purchase it at the state liquor store.
“It’s not a huge difference of what the grocery stores and convenience stores are going to have,” Wood said. “Many of the popular brands, the major sellers like a Budweiser or Coors or Molson something like that. Basically, their main recipe was somewhere around 3.4-3.6. So, it was difficult for them to just have to maintain. Get down to this hard and fast level of 3.2. We were the only state in the country, other than a small amount in Minnesota, that was left with it. So, we had to make a change too.”