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Final Utah DABS meeting of 2022 proves an intriguing one

Mar Muntanya interior bar counter

Well that was a head scratcher. Maybe someone was passing around the egg nog, but the final DABS meetup of 2022 left this curious onlooker a smidge confused. Lets start with the main item therein…

Bar licenses

After some jiggery pokery with the population numbers I believe an extra bar license was conjured up from the ether this month. In addition to a single license being available in December, three further licenses are expected February, May and July next year. On the roster, ten businesses, with two ready to go ASAP, and two more reckoning they could make it with just a few more days effort.

  • West Side Tavern, Salt Lake City
  • Fisher Brewing Company, Salt Lake City
  • Bout Time Pub & Grub, Bluffdale, December
  • Proper Brewing Moab Taphouse, Moab, December
  • Aker Restaurant, Salt Lake City, January 2023
  • Marquis, Park City, March 2023
  • Bout Time Pub & Grub, Saratoga Springs, June 2023
  • Yuki, Salt Lake City, July 2023

With West Side Tavern not in attendance, three business owners came before the commission to put forward their case for the solo bar license. Tim Dwyer from Fisher Brewing spoke about the potential for his business to put the license to immediate use; converting their existing tavern license (5% ABV beer only) the brewery would be able to serve their high point concoctions to clients on site, as well as pour wine, cocktails and cider. Moreover, while their adjoining events space is still being completed (expect that in early Spring next year), the certainty of licensing would help the business book in event clients for 2023. Seemed like a slam dunk to me.

Tim Ryan from Bout Time opened with a “we’re so close”, pointing out that if the meeting would have been held at the more customary end of the month timing, his business would be more than likely attending, set to open. On his latest build out in Bluffdale he pointed to the city never being home to a bar license (remember one of the remits of the DABS is to provide preference to those areas deemed ‘under served’). Ryan also spoke to Bluffdale as one of the fastest growing communities in the state as well as his businesses eight year run of zero DABS violations.

Finally Andrew Tendick from the Proper group of business went into great detail on the expansion of the Proper brewing brand in Moab. The facility would be the largest craft beer selection in Moab as well as offering cocktails too. Tendick, originally from the area, pointed to the fact that nowhere outside of area hotel bars really afford this offering. Somewhat surprisingly – and following an extended variety of failed proposals – Tendick’s Proper Brewing Moab was handed the license.

And before we proceed, let me add that Proper is a sponsor of this site, I know Andrew and the Proper team, and I am super excited and proud of them. They’ll do great work in Moab and this will be the spot if you’re area. Seriously, congratulations all around!

But… the decision flies in the face of a year’s worth of precedent. With licenses a scant resource much of 2022 has seen the DABS putting it clear in no uncertain terms to bar operators: if you’re not ready to walk out of the meeting and open right away, you can’t have your license. The hard stance became such a well trodden phrase that Bout Time owner Tim Ryan came to the November DABS meeting donning a “almost ready to open” T-Shirt. The shirt made a rather ironic come back at this meeting.

The issue of businesses promising “hey, we’re just a few days out” came up as recently as October’s meeting, with both Lit Arcade Bar and Edison House both being asked to return to a special November session, “hey can you open now? ok cool here’s your license”. At the December meeting, this course of action was (fairly and consistently in my mind) proposed again by Thomas Jacobson but failed to garner support from fellow commissioners. Very odd, very confusing, and someone pass me the Christmas pudding. Extra rum for this guy please my head really hurts.

Oh, let’s not event get started on the seeming 180 from the legislature on the issue of mini bottles. Here’s Ben Winslow at Fox13 on this one, the rum’s kicking in here.

Full service restaurant licenses (beer, wine, liquor)

Four restaurants were granted full service licensing at the December meeting. Speaking of which, 21 remain with the meeting coming to a close.

  • Xetava Gardens, Ivins
  • Blue Bird Apres Cafe, Park City
  • La Gringa Restaurant, Richfield
  • Scrambled And Fried, Salt Lake City, January 2023

Limited service restaurant licenses (beer, wine)

Nine restaurants were also handed a limited service license as follows:

  • Pork Belly’s Eatery & Catering Co., Cedar City
  • Thai Palm Kitchen, Ogden
  • Tina’s Bakery, Park City
  • Toro Ramen & Sushi, Riverton
  • Umi Japanese Shabu Shabu, Salt Lake City
  • Over the Coles BBQ, Salt Lake City
  • Cafe El Barril, Sandy
  • Gold Fish Asian Bistro, South Jordan
  • Broken Spur Inn & Steakhouse, Torrey

Other points

In other news a duo of manufacturing and Type 5 package agency licenses were handed out to Second Summit Hard Cider Company and Simplicity Cocktails; both are located in Salt Lake City. I’m always excited to see Type 5’s handed out, these allow the manufacturer to sell direct to the public from their facility – and crucially – on Sundays and holidays too if they so desire. Someday some plucky manufacturer make a small fortune on that one.

The Utah DABS Price Report January 2023

Via our friends at Drink In Utah

It’s a Christmas Miracle! The DABS has published the January price book well in advance, giving us plenty of notice to stock up on the things going up in price next month. The better news is there isn’t a lot going up in price next month. Check out our report to see what has gone up/down in price, what’s new, and what’s discontinued.

On the rare drawing front, the error text on the DABS page has been updated to say “Due to technical issues, the RHDP drawing is postponed until further notice. The DABS hopes to open the drawing within the coming weeks, however a definitive timeline is not yet identified.” So there you have it. We are seeing evidence of a number of rare items currently on-order, so it does look like a new drawing is in the works. We’ll send out another email as soon as we see it go live.

Don’t forget DABS stores will be closed on Monday, December 26 and Monday, January 2. This is an incredibly busy time of year for liquor stores—go early, go at off-peak times if you can, and PLEASE be kind and patient with DABS employees.

Utah DABS directs over $220 million to state and local programs in 2022

Via press release

The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services (DABS) releases its annual report for fiscal year 2022 that outlines total alcohol sales of $557.45 million. After paying for the department’s operating costs, the remaining $229.89 million is put back into the community, says DABS Director Tiffany Clason. 

“The DABS funds crucial services that all Utahns use, helping to keep taxes low for hardworking Utah families” said DABS Director Tiffany Clason. “In fiscal year 2022, the DABS generated $198.66 million in revenue to pay for statewide services like transportation and infrastructure, health, education, public safety, school lunches for kids, and underage drinking prevention. The department also generated $31.23 million in sales taxes split between the state and local communities where DABS retail stores are located.” 

The FY 2022 annual report reviews all the department’s finances from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, says Clason. The report also provides details in other department priorities such as the number of licenses issued to private businesses and events, the number of bottles sold, and the department’s commitment to safety and underage drinking prevention.

Clason also notes that due to proper fiscal planning, the DABS increased pay for full-time store and warehouse employees across the board, by $2 more per hour. The pay raise is in addition to the 3.5 percent increase for all state employees in FY 2022. 

“The DABS employees are at the heart of what we do and are responsible for executing our department mission of providing excellent service while maintaining a firm understanding of alcohol policies and laws,” said Clason.

Clason says the department recognizes its role in financial contributions to government services, in supporting private business, tourism, and cultural events that benefit the cultural and economic vitality of our state, and in ensuring alcohol safety measures are always adhered to in state liquor stores and where alcohol is served by those licensed to do so.

The DABS annual report can be found here:

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