Liquor license frenzy approaches – mark your calendars

As the clock ticks down to the June DABC meeting (sorry it’s DABS now folks) so the interest escalates around who exactly will snaffle up all those delicious bar licenses set to unfurl. Just like an exotic flora that blooms once every 17 years, this is a practically unheard of event, something to witness and tell the kids about one day. As a reminder – NINE full bar licenses will be handed out next month; and there are plenty of folks champing at the bit for one. Keep reading down for more on that.

Onto this month meeting then and the first notable item to report upon: May 2022 was the month that private liquor license sales were legal in Utah. In case you forgot, this was nixed in the 2022 legislative session. The most notable private sale (in my eyes) was the bar license held by Zest, being sold to the Bourbon Group for a fairly reasonable $30,000. The license will in turn be used by the upcoming Franklin Ave Cocktail & Kitchen. This will be the fourth outing for Bourbon Group in the city center, the latest of the quartet coming to Edison Street this Summer. Presumably the group owners weren’t willing to risk the unpredictable free for all barreling our way in June.

Other transfers this month, with prices attached include:

  • The Royal Bar, SLC -> The Break Sports Grill, $10,000
  • The Post, Morgan -> The Post, $1,000
  • Lumpy’s Downtown / Skybar, SLC -> Sky, $100,000
  • Maple Mountain Bar & Grill, Spanish Fork-> Shaka Island, Spanish Fork, $3,500
  • Carlos & Harley’s Fresh Mex Cantina, Eden -> Carlos & Harley’s Fresh Mex Cantina , $50,000 restaurant, $50,000 bar license

And that’s your lot, private sales of liquor licenses are no more. Onto the meeting proper then, and the following sixteen hopeful businesses are all on the docket for a license – with a solitary license available this month. The complete list, in case you needed reminding is as follows (with expected ready to operate dates):

  • Fenice Mediterranean Bistro, Salt Lake City, now
  • Wasatch Loft & Tap Room Bar, Park City, now
  • Shades Tap Room, Salt Lake City, now
  • Durango Bar, Salt Lake City, now
  • Evo Hotel, Salt Lake City, late May 2022
  • Quarters Sugar House, Salt Lake City, late May 2022
  • Paxton Pub, Salt Lake City, late May 2022
  • The Spoke, Moab, June 2022
  • Woodbine Hospitality, Salt Lake City, July 2022
  • Edison House, Salt Lake City, August 2022
  • The Valley Saloon, Vernal, June 2022
  • Proper Brewing Moab Taphouse, Moab, August 2022
  • Marquis, Park City, September 2022
  • Aker Restaurant, Salt Lake City, October 2022
  • Bout Time Pub & Grub, Bluffdale, October 2022
  • Bout Time Pub & Grub, Saratoga Springs, October 2022

Those reaching for the abacus and furiously scribbling complex equations will no doubt note, that once again, we have vastly more eager entrepreneurs than the state of Utah has bar licenses. Expect drama in June folks. Winning this month’s golden ticket, Wasatch Loft & Tap Room Bar, who will open the top of their Park City space as a 21+ bar area.

Remember – the DABS really want to hear from you – they’re as genuinely frustrated by the lack of licensing as the rest of us. Voice your opinion via hotline@dabc.gov and come join me again this time next month.

Onto other licenses handed out this month…

Full service restaurant licenses (beer, wine, liquor)

  • Paradise Biryani Pointe, Draper
  • Sandstone Cafe & Bar, Moab
  • Peace on Earth Coffee, Riverton
  • Zest Kitchen & Bar, Salt Lake City
  • Chili’s Grill & Bar, Saratoga Springs
  • Texas Roadhouse, Spanish Fork
  • Plated Dreams, Woods Cross
  • Longhorn Steakhouse, St. George

Limited service restaurant licenses (beer, wine)

  • Ombu Hotpot, Salt Lake City
  • Sushi Pro, Ogden
  • Hama Sushi, Saratoga Springs
  • Bella Marie’s Pizzeria, St George

Beer only restaurant licenses

  • La Palmita Market & Mexican Cantina, Salt Lake City
  • Lovebirds Hot Chicken, American Fork

In other news

Scion Cider Releases first in house cider

Etta Place x Scion
Etta Place x Scion

Via press release…

Utah’s blossoming craft cider scene reached a new milestone today as Scion Cider, Utah’s newest urban cidery and bar in Salt Lake City teamed up with southern Utah’s Etta Place Cider to craft a limited release from local Utah apples, fermented with saison yeast and dry-hopped with Azacca hops. The result is a powerful 8.0% ABV apple wine that is dry, bubbly, bright and citrus forward with tropical notes to kick off the summer season. 

Beginning today, the collaboration will be available on draft only at Scion Cider Bar in Salt Lake City while supplies last. Etta Place will sell co-branded bottles at their tasting room near Capitol Reef National Park. A limited supply of the collaboration cider will also be available for Utah DABC Special Order by the case. (12 Bottles, 500ml, $8.95 each, CSC#923835) 

The joint initiative brought together the cider makers of Scion and Etta Place to share knowledge and resources among the small businesses. Open for less than six months as a cider focused bar, Scion was experiencing delays in receiving production equipment and was still awaiting manufacturing permits; Etta Place, who opened operations in spring of 2021, had yet to experiment with dry-hopping cider and had no prior experience in kegging cider and wine. Utilizing the Torrey facility to produce the first ever collaboration between Utah based cideries was the perfect solution, enabling the two groups to work together. 

Etta Place cider
Etta Place cider

Rio Connelly, General Manager and head cider maker at Scion, brought his expertise from over 10 years in the Utah craft beer scene, as co-founder of Proper Brewing and assistant production manager in the early days of Epic Brewing. 

Connelly shared his excitement in bringing to life his first commercial cider project: “It was such an amazing opportunity to work with Robert, Ann, and Travis from Etta Place. We’d already been friends for a couple years so doing this project was a no-brainer and we had so much fun. They care so much about their product and it comes through in the final cider. I can’t wait for whatever we do together next!”

“The great thing about the cider community is that most everyone understands we aren’t competing with each other. There simply isn’t enough craft cider in America to meet the demand, ” added Ann Torrence, co-founder of Etta Place.

While Etta Place manages its own heirloom apple orchards near the aptly named Fruita, Utah – for this collaboration, the juice blend made up of primarily Jonathan apples, plus Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Fuji and Gala varieties – was provided by Jordan Riley, Scion co-owner and orchardist at The Partner Farms, a multigenerational family operation in northern Utah. 

“Without this collaboration, we never would have attempted a hopped cider in our first year of production. Rio’s extensive beer experience guided the recipe development in a direction that would have taken us months of bench trials to get started. Instead we nailed it on our first attempt. We can’t wait to start pouring this in our tasting room. It’s going to convert quite a few people over to hopped ciders as a category.”

In the heart of the Central 9th neighborhood and Granary District full of craft breweries, Scion Cider is bringing a new kind of tasting experience to the downtown Salt Lake City bar scene, and this initial collaboration is sure to appeal to craft beer lovers, cider novices and wine enthusiasts alike. 

June DABS price report

Via Drink in Utah mailer…

The DABC > DABS name change is official in June. We cringe every time we type it. Anyone have any better ideas for how to reference them in shorthand?

Regardless, they have made up for last month’s very-late price book with an earlier-than-normal publishing this month. We’ve crunched the numbers and generated a new price report. Click here to see what has gone up or down in price, what’s new, and what’s discontinued.

Luckily, there are not a lot of price increases this month. Let’s hope that trend continues. Looks to be a big month for local gin as Beehive, Madam Pattirini, and Salt City are all having sales. The warmer weather and a local G & T sounds great to us!

In other news

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