Utah legislators have rejected a bill to raise the alcohol content of beer by weight from 3.2 percent to 4.8 percent in grocery and convenience stores. The House Health and Human Services Committee voted 7-to-4 against the bill to allow full-strength beer with the votes of the Mormon-backed opposition.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came out against the original bill but supports a substitute measure to create a task force, according to Marty Stephens, former Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives and the church's Director of Government and Community Relations. The church's positions can hold serious in the state where nearly two-thirds of the population and close to 90 percent of lawmakers are members.
After laws in Oklahoma, Colorado have already changed and Kansas will lift its ban on April 1st, Utah and Minnesota will be the only two states to have this Prohibition-era stricture on its beer which dates back to the ban on alcohol in the United States from 1920 to 1933. Utah made already a step towards more liberalization in spring 2017 when state law was changed to remove Zion curtains, which were partitions that separate restaurant bartenders preparing alcoholic drinks from the customers who order them. (inside.beer, 28.10.2017)
Ironically, the rejection of the law could favor the state’s craft brewers who were the first to demand a change in legislation (inside.beer, 28.10.2017). Larger sway breweries like AB InBev and MillerCoors already announced to cut down on its portfolio of beers with 3.2 percent alcohol by weight (4 percent by volume). They argue that it's not economically feasible to continue make the weaker brews for such a small market (inside.beer, 25.12.2017). The smaller breweries from Utah can take advantage from the withdrawal as this leaves holes to fill for them.