Free Market

Mayor Bloomberg-esque Nanny State Alive and Well in Utah

Conservatives across the country erupted in outrage late last year when Mayor Bloomberg banned sugary drinks over 16 ounces in New York City. But Utah has a similar law in place, where purchasing alcohol in a container larger than two liters is illegal.

From the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s website:

Note that under Utah’s keg beer law, any beer served under the “privately hosted event” exception must be in bottles or cans purchased at retail. Beer may not be served “on draft” from a keg. The keg law prohibits anyone, other than a licensed or permitted beer retailer, from being in possession of beer in containers larger than two liters. It also prohibits beer distributors or wholesalers from selling keg beer to anyone other than a licensed or permitted beer retailer. Also, there is no provision in the law that allows dispensing of “heavy beer” (over 3.2% alcohol content) on draft from kegs.

Many of Bloomberg’s critics pointed out that those who wish to consume a lot of soda will simply buy multiple smaller drinks. (In so doing they will have to pay more, and are therefore being illegitimately financially penalized.) Likewise, consumers of alcohol in Utah who wish to obtain large quantities of the banned beverage will simply be forced to buy more smaller sizes.

This type of law has no principled foundation whatsoever. Like Bloomberg’s nanny state overreach, the many provisions in Utah code which restrict the quantity of alcohol permitted to be purchased should be repealed.


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