Thursday, March 24, 2016

Be Prepared...

When venturing behind the Zion Curtain (AKA Utah).

For thirty-five years I've been giving fellow travelers free advice about the Beehive State.

I simply tell them the truth. "When you're going into Utah, load your vehicle with your favorite alcoholic beverages. When you run out of liquid entertainment,  it's time to run out of Utah." 

Little did I know (until I researched this blog), I was breaking a Utahan law! 

Bringing booze into Utah is like smuggling cocaine in from Mexico
All alcoholic beverages (which at this point might as well include Yoo-hoo) must be imported or shipped by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Possession of any booze that you didn't buy through them is illegal. Of course, there are loopholes, but they're more hairline cracks than holes. If you're coming from a foreign country and clear customs, you can keep up to two liters for personal use. Or if you have a Summer estate in Zurich second residence outside Utah, you're permitted some booze... with DABC approval, after you pay a fee, and only one time. Accredited foreign diplomatic missions, or inheritances, also clear the law, so you might want to get on becoming an ambassador.

For 3.5 decades I've been a clueless criminal! I plead ignorance!. That comes easy these days with the amount of senior moments I've been having lately.
However, ignorance of the law is no excuse. 

All that being said, I'll still bring my own personal stash (plus a few extras in case I meet any other thirsty heathens along my way) into Utah. Don't rat on me.

Weird alcohol imbibing laws are what happens when there is very little separation between church and state. Especially when the church doctrine (LDS or is that LSD?)  is anti-alcohol and anti-caffeine. 

For example: the brewpub's in Utah can only sell less than 4% alcohol by volume beer (ABV) in draught form. However, if they put their product in a can or bottle, the sky is the limit on ABV! 

This was one reason Epic Brewery chose to open a second facility in Denver, CO. That doesn't - make-sense law meant a tapless-tasting room for a company proud of making heavy beers. Epic now makes an IPA aptly named "Escape to Colorado." Welcome to the Centennial State! 

These Blue laws seem almost whimsical. The average heathen will scratch their heads trying to decipher what's legal and what's not. One thing I can tell you, there is no Happy Hour in Utah. It's illegal to reduce drink prices to lure in patrons.

If you decide not to heed my been-there-done-that advice and enter the state ill-prepared, there are Utah state owned liquor stores. These Sin Shops can be found on a dusty side alley with blacked-out windows. There's an entry code to gain access. Rap on the door three quick times, followed up by two slow raps. A peephole will slide open. A shrouded figure will then ask  "Who sent you?" The answer of course. "Joseph Smith." 

One more thing. Make sure you have plenty of ice in your cooler. Real beer is sold only at room temperature. 

I don't think you need to leave a set of fingerprints when you pay. 

PS. I love Utah despite the drinking laws. The National Parks are of a take your breath away beauty. The town's are clean, wholesome and quiet. The locals are friendly and polite.     

I'm looking forward to my five week road trip there. 
I'm pretty sure I have adequate supplies.

Cheers and stay hydrated,


  1. I find it extremely interesting that an herb found many places in Utah, with the common name Mormon tea - presumably because those alcohol and caffeine-avoiding LDS members could make a tea of it and drink that - is of the genus Ephedra. Some members of that genus contain a stimulant that is dangerous for the heart & can even kill if ingested in too large a dose.