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Proposed Utah liquor law tweaks offer short term bar license fix

Stanza bar area

No sooner than I declare January’s liquor news a damp squib – Ben Winslow over at FOX13 drops this spicy preview of what we might expect from the 2023 omnibus liquor bill; the all singing, all dancing liquor legislation that will come into force this Summer. For some context, here’s what happened in 2022 and how the law of the land impacted you and your glass.

The headline item to keep an eye on this year is that liquor licenses currently allocated to fraternal lodges might be retooled as bar licenses. If approved this would in theory make for 40 new bar licenses according to FOX13’s report. Oddly enough, the omnibus bill will also create a comparatively massive volume of 13 new airport liquor licenses at the same time.

The proposed changes leave me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, forty new bar licenses should just about tide the state over for the year ahead. Should being the operative and hopeful word. I quickly glanced back over our past twelve months of DABS coverage and noted a smidge more than thirty names appearing on the list for bar licenses in the calendar year of 2022.

The six businesses presently on the wait list will collectively breathe a sigh of relief – though remember, if approved this won’t come into force until June. All that said, I’d also imagine more than one savvy operator will now be musing on their plans for the year. If you’ve dabbled with the idea of opening a new bar, or pondered the switch from a restaurant to bar license – the second half of 2023 is probably a good bet for licensing success. Those forty might not last quite as long as expected…

Other items noted in Winslow’s piece is the continued futzing with what constitutes a beer in Utah – and yet again – risks the deletion of more product from Utah shelves. The simple solution of setting a single ABV limit per store type, seems to have so far eluded policy makers.

One highly commendable proposed change is to allow consumers to carry their own drinks, from bar to table, in a restaurant setting. Pointing to the increasingly prevalent danger of drink spiking, allow customers full custody of their beverages from the point of sale makes eminent sense.

Manoli’s to remain closed through February

Writing to customers this week, the Greek fine dining spot confirmed that water damage sustained in January will see. them closed for another full month. The note to clients as follows:

Due to the unexpected nature of the flood and the amount of damage to the building, our restaurant and reservation system will be closed for the month of February. We will make announcements when possible and appreciate your understanding. We hope to solve this issue quickly for the safety of our staff and guests. Thank you for your continued support.

Filling’s & Emulsions Provo to close

One business that sadly won’t return at all is the Provo outpost of Adalberto Diaz’s bakery business. Diaz confirmed the following news this week on Facebook writing:

It has taking us months to make this super sad decision. Most of you are aware of the economic stress that most small business have been dealing with during the pandemic and then the skyrocketing prices and issues with supplies chains etc.

We have tried various strategies to keep all our locations viable with our compromising the integrity of our product.That being said. We have made the very difficult decision of closing our Provo location as of the last day of February. We appreciate all of you that became our regular customers at the Provo store, we will miss you all just as much as you will miss us. We really, really appreciate you. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to keep that location viable.

We will continue to serve our customers in our remaining locations on Main Street, West Valley and the Airport. Thank you all for your understanding and your continued support.

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