In the new Utah legislature: the future of 3.2 beer

Utahns consume 33 million gallons of beer a year.

The only beer sold here is 3.2 percent alcohol by weight, but some of the nation’s largest brewers may stop making it.

Sen. Jerry Stevenson, a Republican from Layton who is involved in liquor legislation, said the state has some options.

“We could change the alcohol content to where it fits in more conformity with what’s going on around the country,” said Sen. Stevenson, “or, two, we could put a bill together that lands somewhere in the middle.”

Stevenson said a lot of people like to have input into alcohol laws.

“I’m sure that before this is through I will deal with all the public health departments, I will deal maybe with some religious factors on it. We will have Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. There’s a host of organizations that will have a say.”

The Senator said transferring beer sales to state control would overwhelm the state-run liquor stores.

There are those who would like to put this before the public in the form of a ballot initiative, but 2020 would be the soonest for that.

Senator Stevenson said he has been taking meetings for months with retailers, distributors and plenty of other interested parties.

At least one trade group wants to see heavier 4.8 beer moved onto store shelves in place of 3.2 beer.

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