My Trials & Tribulations with Utah Liquor Laws.

So, I just returned from the great state of Utah.  There are so many reasons to love this state and the great city of SLC, including the gorgeous mountains, the friendly people, the clean city, my family, etc…. its all good.

But everytime I go to Utah  (from CA), I forget how to live there.  The hardest part for me is the liquor laws ( I know, BIG surprise)…. they are strange, unnecessary, and IMO, a hinderence to the state success (tourism!!)…   Lets hope they dont get any more strict (although, from what I hear (and need to read up on), hope is not a strategy).

  1. Respect the Sabbath (forcibly).  So, I arrived in the great state on a Sunday night, 8:30 pm.  I had driven to Utah from CA, a 11 hour drive.  I took my suitcase and a few other items upstairs to my condo, then really really wanted a drink, mostly to relax and watch highlights from the SuperBowl (which I missed because I was on the road).   I do know that the liquor store closes at 10pm, so I rushed out the door, hopped in my car, drove to the liquor store (I was sober) to purchase gods nectar (keep in mind that the tempurate is freezing.. thats close or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit)..  I pulled into the empty parking lot…  thinking to myself, wow,  I’ve got the whole place to myself!!   then I realized, it literally just dawned on me, that it was quite possible that the liquor store was not open.  I double checked with the hours sign.. yup, not open at all on Sunday.  I became frustrated with myself.. why didn’t I know this?  My natural instinct was that it would be available to me, but just before 10pm, which even that doesn’t seem reasonable (should’t I be able to purchase a sealed, contained alcoholic beverage at anytime, am I not an adult??)… 
  2. Sticker With My Wine Please.  Soooo.. I took my realtor out to his favorite restaurant for his birthday (he’s 39 again).  Great restaurant.. he brought the wine (hes a thinker!!)…  He did not have a sticker on the wine bottle, so the waitress (a bit young and immature), stated quite loudly, that she couldn’t open the wine because it didnt have a sticker…   Its the dummest law ever – If you want to bring a bottle of wine to any restaurant, it has to have a “Utah Liquor Store” orange sticker on it, otherwise, restaurants can’t  and won’t open it.   So if you want to have a special bottle of wine and it isn’t purchased in Utah, you’d better plan on drinking at home or find a friend with an orange sticker..   I’m looking into it, I’ll let you know what i find out.  Anyway, we (rather he) figured it out —  a sticker was produced and attached to the bottle and all order was restored. 
  3. Brunch – Beer Yes, Mimosa No. O.k. So, my last morning/day in Utah was a tough one. I had a ton of stuff to finish up …  I wanted to take my parents out to brunch before I left… and when they showed up at the condo for brunch, it took us  a whilte to get out of the condo (all due to poor time management on my part). They are saints, they helped me finish up so we could get out when we did (later than expected).  Anyway, I take them to brunch, a nicer establishment, and I order a mimosa.  Seems reasonable, its brunch, long and hectic morning,  11:30am…   After ordering, the waiter came back and shared with me that at 11:30am, he could serve me beer, but not “hard” liquor, such as champagne and orange juice.  I have to tell you, I almost had a meltdown.  I was able to keep it together because a) my parents were there, b) Bubba, my nephew was there (and he adores his aunt “Paula”), and c)  I knew the airport laws were different (if only slightly, at least I knew I could get a cocktail)…

All of these examples just scream religious control… that there isn’t the seperation of church and state  that is clearly outlined in the First Amendment…   Its easier to practice poligamy in Utah than to get a cocktail….   which is a completely different topic, one that I’ll write about later…

Anyway, its the pretense that we, citizens and visitors of this great state are “free” to make our own choices and decisions, when in reality, we are not.   Religion rules here, and this is the feeling I do not like, and why, as a non-mormon, I just couldn’t move permenently to the state (I’m sure they are happy to NOT have me)..

In summary, if I spent more time in Utah, I would just know about these little things.. and work around them very easily.. As a visitor I”m learning.. I just put in an “owners closet” in my condo, stocked it full with my favorite beverages just in case I visit during “off hours”.  But as you can see, I assume I have rights, basic rights, and as much as I would like to be accomodating, I just cant, it goes against every fiber of my being (I really really really don’t like to be told what to do).. So, as great as Utah is, I don’t appreciate Big Brother, aka the Mormon Church, looking out for me.

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