SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Miniature liquor bottles could return to deeply religious Utah liquor stores by fall, after the state agency that oversees liquor approved a rule change on Tuesday.
Members of the State Alcoholic Beverage Services Department Commission voted unanimously to allow the sale of spirits in sizes slightly larger than the average shot or wine glass, Fox 13 reported. The commission plans to open the proposed rule change to public comment and, barring concerns, could institute it by the fall.
A decades-long ban on miniature liquor bottles is one of many unique liquor laws in Utah, where the majority of the population is members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who avoids alcohol. Church officials said state laws are reasonable and effective in reducing binge drinking and impaired driving while allowing people to drink responsibly.
As Utah attracts increasing numbers of tourists and residents who are not church members, new tensions have arisen over the state’s liquor laws and concerns have grown over whether they entrench the state’s reputation as a religiously conservative place that is intolerant of those who drink alcohol. .
Liquor regulators said the push to bring back the mini-bottles came from companies located in tourist areas of the state.
“Utah is one of the only states that does not retail 50ml bottles,” commission executive director Tiffany Clason told the broadcaster last week. “The commission has heard a lot of support from private business owners, also in high-traffic tourist areas, rural areas of Utah where when people visit they would prefer to have smaller format sizes. .”
Wine and spirits are only sold in Utah’s public liquor stores, not in grocery stores or private liquor stores.