Utah Alcohol Laws Remain Neo-Prohibitionist

Although Utah's alcohol beverage laws were updated somewhat in 2009, they still remain neo-prohibitionist in nature. Drinking is no longer restricted to private clubs, but numerous complex laws attempt to discourage even light and moderate alcohol consumption.

Their complexity and arbitrary nature make alcohol beverage laws in Utah easy to violate unintentionally. That discourages drinking and the fines for violations enrich state coffers, thus killing two birds with one stone.

Many people understandably view the laws as arbitrary and capricious. For example, it's legal for a customer to order and be served a gin and tonic with a shot of vodka on the side, but not a vodka and tonic with a shot of vodka on the side.

Repeal of National Prohibition occurred in 1933, but the prohibition impulse remains alive and well in Utah and many other palces. Indeed, some argue that neo-prohibitionism is expanding in the United States.


  • Utah liquor laws, as mixed up as some drinks. New York Times, July 20, 2011, p. A1.

Filed Under: Legal

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