Utah's craft brewers want to start lobbying for a change in state’s beer law that allows only beer up to 3.2 percent alcohol by weight (4 percent by volume) to be sold in in grocery and convenience stores. Stronger beer is only available in State Liquor Stores and Package Agencies and at clubs and restaurants licensed to sell liquor. In commercial facilities, the time at which alcohol may be served is limited, and alcohol may not be sold any later than 1 am under any circumstance.
Utah and Minnesota are the last US states with the light beer requirement. Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas have recently changed their legislation to allow also the sale of stronger beer in grocery stores.
It comes to no surprise that Utah is one of the last states to withstand relaxation of regulations concerning alcohol. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), to which a majority of Utahns belong, advises against the consumption of alcohol for its members. Utah was also the only state to require Zion curtains. These were partitions that separate restaurant bartenders preparing alcoholic drinks from the customers who order them. They were mandated in hopes of combating excessive drinking by keeping alcohol out of sight of restaurant patrons who choose not to consume alcohol. As of the spring 2017 legislative session the Zion Curtain laws are being revoked and the requirement is being withdrawn from restaurants and pubs.
Peter Erickson, a spokesman of The Utah Brewers Guild, which represents more than a dozen small breweries in the state, called for somebody to lead their guild and help lobby regulators and legislators, many of whom are Mormon and avoid alcohol for religious reasons. In his opinion these lawmakers don't fully understand the industry and its impact on the state's economy, with about 3,000 people employed and a yearly turnover of $416 million. Erickson, who co-founded Epic Brewing in Salt Lake City, said that craft brewers typically don’t have the time or resources to lobby on Capitol Hill but know that several liquor issues brewing in the state will affect their livelihood.
The light beer requirements are one of the last remains of prohibition, which was in power in the United States from 1920 to 1933 and which made the manufacturing, storage, transportation, sale, possession, and consumption of alcohol including alcoholic beverages illegal.
Next to alcohol, many people also demand a legalization of marijuana. Many US states already changed their laws accordingly. However, major alcohol producing companies fear the effect of legalizing marijuana because they believe in a substitution of alcohol drinking by marijuana smoking. (inside.beer, 11.11.2016).