Growlers and beer to go might be a thing of the past in Utah

Update (10.30 p.m.) April 13th: Time to relax, breathe a sign of relief and pour a cold one. From your freshly-filled growler if you like too. Because, schwooo, looks like beer to go in it’s current format is here for the time being. Here’s the official statement:

We understand the important role our restaurants and other food and beverage establishments play in our local economies. We also understand the struggles they’ve faced trying to operate during the pandemic. The DABC’s intent to communicate the inconsistency was to flag that this warranted additional review, in an effort to ensure licensees are compliant with the law.  As a result of additional dialogue between stakeholders, legislative leads, and others, the DABC has determined that the best course of action now is to allow licensees to continue to operate as they have been prior to the April 8, 2021 letter they received. In the meantime, the DABC will continue to review this issue, propose it as an item for further investigation and discussion with the legislative leads to determine if and how additional clarification can be sought during next year’s general legislative session. We will notify licensees of this update immediately. We apologize for any confusion

Update April 13th: The DABC this evening tweeted, “INCORRECT REPORT: The DABC has not decided to stop licensees from selling beer to go in closed containers as long as they are meeting the operational and legal requirements. The DABC is continuing to allow restaurants, bars and taverns to operate as they have been.”

I’ve reached out directly to the departments communication team for clarification on the seeming contradiction – hopefully growlers are here to stay!

Original story:

Breaking news today that might radically affect how Utah’s beer lovers buy their brews. Writing on their Facebook page today, The Bayou spoke about a new interpretation of the state’s liquor code which effectively makes many businesses beer to go operations invalid. The. business writes:

We have just received a letter from the DABC where they are letting us know we may not sell beer to go. We have sent a response explaining why we think their decision is misguided and look forward to a solution. Unfortunately, until we can sort this out, we can no longer sell beer to go.

Additionally The Bayou also provides the DABC’s letter sent to the business, addressing the seeming recent-re-evaluation of the states law on this type of sale. As part of the letter the DABC confirmed the following list permitted/non permitted sales activities by license type:

Bar

  • Beer 5% or less, to go in sealed container, can/bottle – NO
  • Beer 5% or less, to go in sealed container, crowler/growler – NO
  • Beer over 5%, to go in in sealed container, can/bottle – NO
  • Beer over 5%, to go in in sealed container, crowler/growler – NO

Tavern

  • Beer 5% or less, to go in sealed container, can/bottle – YES
  • Beer 5% or less, to go in sealed container, crowler/growler – YES
  • Beer over 5%, to go in in sealed container, can/bottle – NO
  • Beer over 5%, to go in in sealed container, crowler/growler – NO

Restaurant

  • Beer 5% or less, to go in sealed container, can/bottle – NO
  • Beer 5% or less, to go in sealed container, crowler/growler – NO
  • Beer over 5%, to go in in sealed container, can/bottle – NO
  • Beer over 5%, to go in in sealed container, crowler/growler – NO

Beer Recreational

  • Beer 5% or less, to go in sealed container, can/bottle – YES
  • Beer 5% or less, to go in sealed container, crowler/growler – YES
  • Beer over 5%, to go in in sealed container, can/bottle – NO
  • Beer over 5%, to go in in sealed container, crowler/growler – NO

Type 5 Package Agency `

  • Beer 5% or less, to go in sealed container, can/bottle – NO
  • Beer 5% or less, to go in sealed container, crowler/growler – NO
  • Beer over 5%, to go in in sealed container, can/bottle – YES
  • Beer over 5%, to go in in sealed container, crowler/growler – NO

Off Premise Beer

  • Beer 5% or less, to go in sealed container, can/bottle – YES
  • Beer 5% or less, to go in sealed container, crowler/growler – NO
  • Beer over 5%, to go in in sealed container, can/bottle – NO
  • Beer over 5%, to go in in sealed container, crowler/growler – NO

This would all seem to imply a fairly hefty change to a number of businesses. No more fancy auto-canning machines at your favorite brewery (unless the beer is >5%), no more growlers from your favorite brew pub restaurant or pizza place. At least that’s what it looks like on the face of things.

The Bayou write that they’ve asked for further clarification from the DABC on this change. Watch this space, I certainly will!

Featured image, courtesy of Freepik.

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