Extra! Extra! Beer in Utah!


Congratulations on the excellent article, "Red State Rising" (HCN, 10/29/12). It was great to see a positive story about Utah. The Air Force moved me here 36 years ago, and for many of those years the state received more than its share of negative stories, usually focused on the failure of business and government leadership to plan and develop resources for future growth. A comment frequently made to newcomers then was, "Welcome to Utah, turn your watch back 100 years."

As Thompson's article pointed out, state and city leaders over more recent years have made a concerted effort to bring Utah into the 21st century. The success of the 2002 Winter Olympics demonstrated the state's ability to serve tourists from around the world, and certainly went a long way towards creating a more positive impression than was held by a great many from outside the region. The strong emphasis on outdoor recreation and tourism in general has increased steadily since then, as the article discussed, despite the protests of some locals who would "keep our beautiful state as it was!" Incidentally, Mr. Thompson, you do not have to go to a state liquor store here "to buy beer for your river trip." It has been sold at nearly every grocery store, drugstore and 7-11, seven days a week since I arrived in 1976! And restaurants will serve you wine with your meal and a cocktail beforehand. Spread the word!

Richard Quimby
Layton, Utah

Note from editor: Only beer with 3.2 percent alcohol or less is sold outside state liquor stores in Utah, hence the reference in the story.

Mike Welch
Mike Welch Subscriber
Nov 27, 2012 02:44 PM
Actually, in regards to the editors note, you can indeed buy beer that is greater than 3.2 in grocery stores, gas stations, 7-11s, etc... etc... Granted its only 4.0 (all the local micro-brews) but 4.0 is still and always will be greater than 3.2---just making things clear for yawl'---as I would hate for people to get the wrong idea about Utah, wink.
Jonathan Thompson
Jonathan Thompson Subscriber
Nov 27, 2012 03:24 PM
Mike: Thanks for the clarity! But actually, from the way I read Utah's dept. of alcohol beverage control website, we're all correct, kind of. It says grocery stores etc. can sell beer up to 4.0% by volume, which they say is equal to 3.2% by weight. So in this case, 4.0=3.2, which seems to bend rules of arithmetic, but what the hey? Of course, the original reference to which the letter writer is responding noted that in Utah you have to go to a state liquor store to get beer for a river trip. I still stand by that, as no self-respecting river tripper I've ever met would settle for either 3.2 or 4.0 beer. But thanks for keeping us awl on our toes!

Mike Welch
Mike Welch Subscriber
Nov 27, 2012 04:27 PM
Jonathan, thanks for the information I never realized or paid enough attention to the whole weight vs. volume concept. I just peered into my fridge where both micro-beer and "regular" beer are in waiting--Utah style of course---and it does read by weight on the PBR (3.2) and by volume on the local micro.(4.0). You are correct, and thanks for killing my 4.0 placebo buzz.