Utah Liquor Laws

Posted by Maggie on October 22, 2012

wineweb (wineweb)

If there’s one thing I like after a great day on the slopes, it’s a nice glass of wine or some Schnapps liqueur in my hot chocolate.  If there’s one thing I don’t like after a great day on the slopes it’s facing an inflatable “Coors Light” can towering over me 20 feet tall.   Can you imagine the chaos of a throng of college aged Spring Break skiers that congregated around the base of it? Seriously, you would have thought they were giving away free samples from the way the partiers were acting.  Now imagine me and my two elementary school aged sons, with our ski gear trying to navigate through these crowds one afternoon after skiing.   This scene completely turned our family away from Spring Break skiing for a few years until we discovered the family friendly atmosphere at Park City Mountain Resort.

Because of its history, Utah has a reputation for being difficult to obtain an adult beverage.  The laws have become less conservative in recent years, so let me allay your concerns.  In the past, if you went to bar and ordered a drink, customers faced an extra charge for “joining the club.”  This was a one time fee of $2-5 which bought patrons a membership in the club which was previously required to order alcohol.  There is no longer any requirement to be a member of a club in order to purchase alcoholic beverages.

This snowmama prefers to purchase my potent potables and bring them back to the condo to enjoy in the hot tub.   For beer, you can purchase all your favorite brands at the grocery store but remember it is only 3.2% alcohol by volume.  You are likely accustomed to 5% alcohol by volume in your beer at home depending on where you live.  As Snowmama Heather advises: no self-respecting party goer would ever bring grocery store beer to a social gathering.  For stronger beer, wine and liquor, you will need to make a stop at the state run liquor store.  There are four stores in the Park City area and some hotels also have a contract with the state to sell wine to guests.  The most convenient liquor store to Park City Mountain Resort is located at 1550 Snow Creek Drive, Park City, 84060 with hours of operation:  Monday-Saturday 11 am-10 pm.

If you have a tight schedule or chose to go car-less at a slopeside resort, check out Park City Grocery Delivery by The Grocery Girls.  They will do all your grocery shopping and deliver to your hotel or resort and they will deliver beer, wine and liquor.  


Now, with a nod to David Letterman – my top 10 list of rules for alcoholic beverages in Utah:

  • 10.  In a restaurant, you have to order food to be served an alcoholic beverage.  You can order a drink at a “club” with or without food.
  • 9.  21 is the legal drinking age.
  • 8.  Wine is not sold at the grocery store – you have to buy it at the State Liquor Store.
  • 7.  No alcohol is sold on Sunday except in bars so think ahead.
  • 6.  Never bring grocery store beer to a party unless you enjoy facing ridicule and scorn.
  • 5.  Rock-paper-scissors is the appropriate way to decide who has to get out of the hot tub to refresh the drinks.  Best 2 out of 3 is acceptable.
  • 4.  No splashing when Mom has wine in the hot tub.
  • 3.  Hot Cocoa is just a little better with some flavored liqueur and whipped cream.
  • 2.  Don’t buy more than you can drink and if you do, don’t try to bring it home in your suitcase.  Just trust me on this one.

And of course, the #1 rule for everywhere:

  • 1.  Don’t drink and drive!

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Comment posted by Adam on October 23, 2012 8:40 PM MDT

Reminder for us lowlanders: Mixing your alcohol with altitude magnifies the punch.

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Comment posted by Ryan on October 22, 2012 8:50 AM MDT

Utah beer is not 3.2% alcohol by volume, as you stated. It is 3.2% alcohol by weight which equals 4.0 alcohol by volume. That is why a lot of the Utah beers now say 4.0% ABV. Everyone, including the locals don't look closely enough to realize that.

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Response posted by Dave on October 23, 2012 11:01 AM MDT

The above comment is absolutely true and should be clarified in the article. They really are 4% by the standard which all other alcohol content is measure: by weight.


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