Liquor Laws In Utah

For some reason, it is a common misconception that Utah is a "dry" (alcohol forbidden) state. This is simply not true. While the predominant religion ( The Mormon Church - or officially "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints" - sometimes called the LDS Church) forbids the drinking of alcohol by active members, many people in Utah are not members of that religion, and enjoy having a cocktail, glass of wine, or a beer as much as anyone anywhere. Just as is true of liquor laws in many provinces of Canada, there are some idiosyncracies to the Utah liquor laws which are worth becoming familiar with.

Grocery stores (food markets) and convenience stores (often at gas stations) are only allowed to sell low alcohol beer and no wine or liquor. This beer is usually known as "3-2" beer in the USA as it is 3.2% alcohol by weight (4% ABV).

Wine, liquor, and some beers are sold in Utah State Liquor Stores. And the liquor, beer, and wine sold in Utah State Liquor Stores is exactly the same percentage of alcohol or "proof" as the identical brand purchased anywhere else, but they are more heavily taxed than in surrounding states which prompts some people to purchase liquor in other states and bring it in to Utah. This is illegal.

Utah State Liquor Stores can be found in almost every mid-sized town in Utah. They generally are open from about 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. although some are open later. They are closed on election days, state and national holidays, and Sundays.

Previously In Utah, you needed to buy a membership for a "private club" where you could get wine, beer, and cocktails. That was changed with new legislation in 2009. Membership fees are no longer needed to enter a "social club". Now anyone under 35 will have their drivers license scanned and kept on file for a week. Bars and social clubs may be entered by anyone 21 years old and older. Many restaurants and all brew pubs have a bar area where the age limit of 21 and over also applies.

You may not drive or operate any motorized vehicle under the influence of alcohol. In Utah, the legal limit is a blood alcohol level of .08%.

You may not have an open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of the vehicle.

Restaurants with liquor licenses sell alcoholic beverages if accompanied by a meal eaten on the premises, but not for "take-out" orders. If you are unsure whether the restaurant has a liquor license, just ask. Some restaurants with liquor licenses will automatically provide a wine list, others don't. Again, just ask.

You may not bring your own bottle of beer or liquor into a restaurant.  You may bring your own bottle of wine into a restaurant, but have to pay a corkage fee of at least $5 (just make sure it is a bottle purchased in Utah).

Utah is the second "driest" state in terms of precipitation, but your visit to Utah need not be a "dry" one!

Please be safe and drink responsibly.