Gehrke: Lawmakers need to fix Utah's 3.2 beer law before voters are asked to step in again – Salt Lake Tribune

“Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out.”
— U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh writing for the majority in the landmark case of Tastes Great v. Less Filling

Are you like Justice Kavanaugh? Do you like beer?

If you do, you may soon notice fewer options when you try to buy a six-pack at a Utah grocery store, convenience store and possibly your favorite watering hole.

That’s because, as of Oct. 1, Oklahoma got rid of its requirement that all beer in the state contain just 3.2 percent alcohol. Colorado will get rid of 3.2 beer in January and Kansas will follow suit in April.

For at least two years now, stores that sell beer have been trying to persuade legislators to change Utah law. Each time, they’ve been brushed aside. The line of thinking is that maybe the impact won’t be that bad, so let’s wait and see.

Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune The Salt Lake Tribune staff portraits. Robert Gehrke.

Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune The Salt Lake Tribune staff portraits. Robert Gehrke.

But now, the big beer retailers and wholesalers aren’t waiting around. This week, they formed a new nonprofit — The Utah Alcohol Coalition — to advocate for raising the alcohol level of Utah beer from 3.2 percent to 4.8 percent, which they say would ensure consumers don’t see brands disappearing from shelves.

Here’s where it gets interesting: In addition to the advocacy group, members are forming a political action committee and a political

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