Changes would free up Utah liquor permits

on 13/10/10 at 10:37 am

Industry

Restaurant operators who have gone away empty-handed because the state has run out of liquor permits may get some relief next year.

Legislative leaders are poised to endorse changes to Utah’s liquor laws that would free up permits, allowing more restaurants to serve alcohol with meals. But the changes will be piecemeal.

In January, Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, will introduce a bill allowing restaurants to sell existing permits to the highest bidder, theoretically to nudge struggling eateries to go out of business or stop serving alcohol in return for extra cash.

The legislation would also free up about 25 more restaurant permits, which would be created by converting a pool of unused tavern licenses that allow the serving of 3.2 beer. The state has 50 surplus beer permits, twice the number called for in Valentine’s proposed legislation.

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