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Utah DABC runs off the rails with single event liquor permits

getting a drink in Utah just got harder
getting a drink in Utah just got harder
Heather King

The Salt Lake Tribune reported yesterday that the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) is changing their minds about how single event liquor permits are approved.

The following is the entire entry for single event permits taken from the DABC website.

Single Event Permits
Single event permits are available from the Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission for groups that want to sell liquor, wine, flavored malt beverages, beer, and heavy beer at temporary events. These are available to a bona fide partnership, corporation, limited liability company, political or religious organization, or incorporated association (including a recognized subordinate lodge, chapter or other local unit) that is conducting a civic or community enterprise or convention. The permit allows for the sale of alcoholic beverages to the general public, or to the organization's own invited guests for the duration of the event. The permit allows for cash bars and the sale of alcohol for fundraising purposes. Permits are issued by the commission once a month. Application must be made by the 10th of each month and the fee is $125.

Nowhere in the language does it state that these licenses are meant only for non-profits, as David Gladwell, chairman of the state liquor commission, said at Tuesday’s monthly meeting. The wording specifically states that partnerships, corporations and limited liability companies may apply if they are conducting “a civic or community enterprise or convention.” In both cases, Snowbird’s Oktoberfest and many other festivals and holiday celebrations fit these guidelines and, in Snowbird’s case, have been granted for nearly 40 years.

As Snowbird holds 19 different liquor licenses but there is still no license that allows them to serve alcohol in the area where Oktoberfest is held, the question becomes, how do they go about legally obtaining a permit to sell liquor during the event? How does any business?

The Utah DABC doesn’t appear to have any answers.