USA: Governor ends 86-year-old beer law

Gary Herbert, the governor of Utah, has signed a bill raising the state's legal limit on alcohol levels allowed in Utah grocery and convenience stores. The decree ends the state’s 86-year-old “3.2” beer law by lifting the limit from 3.2% alcohol by weight (ABW; =4.0% Alcohol by volume) to 4.0% ABW (=5% ABV).

The new bill is a compromise between conservative, which preferred the status quo and more liberal forces, which wanted to raise the limit to 4.8% ABW (=6.0% ABV). Last month Utah legislators already rejected such a bill which would have allowed craft brewers to sell at least some lighter IPAs. (, 18.3.2019).

The new limit will benefit mainly major brewers like AB InBev and MillerCoors, which will now scrap their “3.2” versions of beers such as Bud Light and Miller Lite, replacing them with their normal 4.2 percent ABV versions that exist nationally.

Although the new legislation, which takes effect on Nov. 1, 2019, marks in some ways a new era in Utah, the moderate step will most likely prevent the state to progress in the next time with a much bigger step to come closer to the majority of other states which have a limit of 12.4% ABV.

In addition, the law makers combined the liberalization with an increase in tax of 30 cents on each barrel of beer from USD12.80 to USD13.10.

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