In a legislative interim meeting yesterday commercial developers testified that the state’s acute license shortage will cause existing permits to be priced artificially high — pushing small business and entrepreneurs out of the mix. It’s simple economics, when there is no supply [of licenses] but a great demand, costs will increase significantly.
Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, who sponsored SB314, which allowed licenses to be sold on the open market, said the intent was to make it easy for restaurants to sell all assets when they closed. He acknowledged the need for him to bring back proposals to the committee to free up more licenses. But administrative rules or proposed legislation could take months to enact.
A year ago, commissioners at the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control were so opposed to permit holders selling licenses that they took the unprecedented — but unsuccessful — step of asking Gov. Gary Herbert to veto SB314. The bill also freed up a few restaurants licenses, but it didn’t take long for the supply to run dry. This month, 45 applicants have filed for a variety of liquor permits — but only one, a full-service license allowing all types of alcohol — is available.
Source: Salt Lake Trib