Monday, February 21, 2011

Your Pound of Flesh is Due

Let me take you on trip back in time. Utah's legislators wrote laws to do away with private clubs, eliminate the so-called "Zion Curtain and the legalization of the home brewing of beer and wine.

This was a happy time. It was in 2009 and we thought that, we the cultural misfit toys of Utah, were finally allowed to behave just like the rational humans that inhabit the rest of the globe. It was too good to be true.

I've been saying for a long time that, there is no progression in Utah without regression. It's always one step forward two steps back. Soon we will pay for our 2009 advances.

There is legislation currently on Capitol Hill to take away the authority of the liquor-control board to elect its chairman. Instead, the governor would make the appointment, with the consent of the Senate. It's seen as a way to rien in free thinkers like Sam Granato, the board chairman of the Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, who defied lawmakers last year by refusing to close profitable liquor stores to make up for a state revenue shortfall.

And speaking of, closing profitable liquor stores some of our legislators are also mandating that the most profitable revenue producing arm in the state (DABC) close ten liquor stores and reduces operating hours across the board. All stores no matter how busy will close by 7pm. You may say to yourself, "no sane, business minded person would ever operate a business this way". and you's be correct. That's why it's retribution.

Don't tune-out now, there's more! Current law allows beer sales starting at 10 a.m., Senate Bill 314 seeks to allow all liquor service to begin at 11:30 a.m. The bright side here? You'd be able to have a cocktail 30 minutes earlier. Gee-wiz, thanks!

I'm not finished yet... The bill also bans beer containers larger than two liters. This is a big, Fuck you! to the Utah Brewers Cooperative, who as you know invested a lot of money in a new 5 liter kegging system after finding a loophole in the law. The "Chubbies" will be no more. Under this proposed legislation some boxed wines would also be outlawed.

For all our progress, this is still Utah. The people in charge still want you to know that they are and that they're not going to back away from their position on what they feel is a necessary evil. You can't hold back the ocean, but Goddamn it you can try! Please contact your representative and ask them to see reason.

26 comments:

Ricky H. said...

Oh damn. I don't know what to say. These laws seem to have been proposed, not as a way to cut the budget or keep people from drinking and driving. As a person who actually paid attention in my University logic classes I want to see the expected "Greater good" outcome of these bills! Cutting hours and removing the limited autonomy to a highly profitable agency within the State government during a budget crisis seems to be against all better thinking.

---Ricky

Douglas said...

On a unrelated topic, I see a cool bottle is for sale on Ebay brewed by Becker brewing some 60 years ago in Ogden. Utah has a cool brewing history:
http://cgi.ebay.com/Uinta-Club-Beere-Paper-Label-Bottle-Becker-BC-Ogden-UT-/280619799543?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item41563e53f7

kent said...

So much for a quiet year in liquor laws. Anyone want to bet what Rep. Christensen's response to my email will be? I'm sure he'll carefully weigh my opinion.

You've nailed the hypocrisy that abounds in the legislature with your observation Ricky. It's really sickening.

Goofy McWanker said...

Although the contacting of legislators seems to be the only ostensible form of recourse we have, I still call for an old-fashioned public hangin' of a corrupt politician, or two, in the town square.

SpagGirl said...

A while ago I stumbled upon a photo from Prohibition showing people picketing holding signs saying "WE WANT BEER!" What if we took a cue from history?

microbusbrew said...

Son of a beach. I grew up LDS in California but I drink and I’m a home brewer so I'm what you'd call a Jack Mormon. It should be apparent to any reasonable person that this is completely unnecessary bureaucratic red tape. We’re a state dominated by conservative political beliefs…that means small government folks, free markets, reducing government regulations, capitalism baby! These proposed bills are the exact opposite…big government at its worst…little baby steps that take away your freedoms bit by bit.
The fact is there has not been an increase in DUI’s which is what all the LDS folks feared would happen by doing away with Private Clubs requirement. I haven’t seen any increase in crime that can be attributed to the legalization of home brewing…despite that it’s “fraught with mischief.” We need to do away with the remaining archaic laws, not write new ones.

Plang said...

Can't say I didn't see this coming. Wait, I did see this coming!

Doesn't matter if the genie is out of the bottle, or the beer, they are going to try getting it back in there one way or the other.

The bill would include more restaurant licenses, but do nothing for bars. They will pile on as long as they can.

Anonymous said...

Let's get organized and protest outside the capital.

Mikey said...

I believe the commitee meets to discuss the bill on Wednesday morning. I'll try to find out the exact time.

Douglas said...

Oh and, thanks Mikey for keeping us up to date on this.

Josh said...

It's John Valentine and Mike Waddoups, as usual, mostly Valentine, it's his bill. Almost every insane idea sine 2009 that you've heard about has been from those two. The ID scanning, the database, the 10 foot walls, etc. Additionally, when you read in the news that we can't get rid of license quotas because of a lack of legislative support from key lawmakers, that's exactly who they are referring to. Believe it or not, there are actually plenty of legislators who aren't too retarded about alcohol, but those two jackasses happen to have a lot of clout and they are both extremely anti-booze. I sent Valentine an email about this, but didn't hear back. I'd be interested to know if the UBC has approached him about this, since obviously the chubbies are there investment.

If you live in Taylorsville or Orem, where Waddoups and Valentine are from, respectively, please let them know how unhappy you are about their lunacy.

Ricky H. said...

Everyone is saying very true things here. Mike is right when he said this is retribution. They are punishing those interested in a legal product just because they are in a position to do so. Not only that, they will be hurting the agencies supported by the large amount of revenue generated by the sale of this legal product.

If the legislature really has such a bad taste in their mouth with the state regulating alcohol, then by all means let the market prevail and let the private sector take over. Oh wait, that would cut into the profits. This is no different than a vegetarian owning a slaughter house.

---Ricky H.

Mikey said...

Here's the info on the committee meeting in regards to SB-314.

Wednesday Feb 23rd, 7:30am Room 210 Senate Building (east building).

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2011&Com=SSTBUS

http://le.utah.gov/~2011/bills/sbillint/sb0314.pdf

InTheVenueSLC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
likethesocks said...

First Beer fest and now all these other juicy tidbits from our "Valentine" - What a jerk. Petition to stop the bill: http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/saveutahbeerfest

Wasatch & Squatters Beers said...

Yes...this is a fall back but we view it as 3 steps forward and one step back. While there's some wild stuff going on (never can reason with crazy=politics) we've been able to win quite a few victories in this most recent proposed legislation without completely abandoning recent 2009 steps in improvement. "You win some...you loose some" quoted from the OG beer pioneer Greg Schirf.
Yes....we CAN'T make chubby's anymore, a.k.a 5 litre cans (mini kegs)..till Septemberish (gave us a 6 month compliance gratis to expend our production investment and utilize purchased inventory) yet gotta look at the greater good. To win some....you gotta loose some. They're a lot of people who get "screwed" in......govmnt. We still work toward change every day of our lives and won't rest......yet what could have happened...didn't. We gotta give up chubby's for others to continually strive. Eat it....not the worst that COULD have happened. GET CHUBBY'S WHILE YOU CAN FOLKS!
p.s. mike is correct. the biggest revenue for Utah is taxes and alcohol sales/benefits. for your health

Wasatch & Squatters Beers said...

above written by Cindi at Utah Brewers Co-op....just in case

Mikey said...

I get what you saying Cindi. The frustrating part is that you guys already lost before the political process even got a chance to begin.

The fact that the UBC has already been given it's marching orders and the bill has even yet to be heard in committee, just proves that we're all nothing more than a technical nuisance in this whole process.

I'm glad you guys are taking the high road. I'm not quite there yet.

Miss ya, Girlie!

Ed said...

So wait: This hasn't passed in to law, and it may not even come up for a vote -- and yet they already have to stop selling mini-kegs? How does that work? Am I reading it wrong? My head hurts.

Mikey said...

From what Cindi said, they have already been told they have until September to liquidate their inventory. Correct me if I'm wrong, Cindi.

This bill will be heard tomorrow morning for the first time in committee. There is always a chance that it may die in Committee, the House or Senate.

This is unlikely. So unlikely that the UBC is already planning to liquidate their remaining stock.

Wasatch & Squatters Beers said...

Yep..officially goes into action tomorrow morning....yes, we're given a grace period which is much cooler than executing it right now.yes...taking the high road...this shall be a chubby spring/summer!!! Mikey.....we're still punk inside. We just have future fat fish to fry. No liquidation yet. We come prepared! We're still lucky to have gone as far as we have.

kent said...

Echoing what Ed has said I find it very disturbing that before it is even heard in committee UBC has been told that you have to liquidate your stock. Now echoing Mikey. This tells me the law is a forgone conclusion and a vote and signature are a formality.

Now I'm wondering if the Beehive brew off can be grouped in under the clause that will kill the beer fest.

There are times I love this state. This isn't one of them and clearly they'd be happier if I left.

Wasatch & Squatters Beers said...

there's a lot of time to debate the fests......don't think it's killed yet....debate is alive and well

josh said...

Cindi, seriously, how is it that you have to make any changes already? Is the DABC changing any rules right now, or are you just figuring the bill being passed by the houses and signed by scary gary is a foregone conclusion so you are just planning ahead?

Wasatch & Squatters Beers said...

We don't have to make any changes yet. We have a grace period of 6 months to work toward utilizing our investment of chubby's...unless something happens within that 6 month grace period......they'll be obsolete by Oct 1st. We can keep making Chubby's for out of state sales but they will no longer be legal within Utah state's curtain. To clarify something...DABC does NOT make these decisions. It's all legislative. DABC is just an entity that enforces laws and regulations put in place by our government. All bitching about rules belongs to the rule makers.

DC said...

Go to: http://le.utah.gov/UtahCode/section.jsp?code=32A-1
and you can see that the Utah Code Website shows the current 32 A is already repealed with new current date of 7/1/11 on the state site! So much for open public debate.