State liquor regulators are urging beer outlets to apply for state licenses immediately or face closure on Jan. 1.
Some 838 taverns, cafes, bowling alleys and other retail beer establishments must get new state licenses by Jan. 1, but 600 of them are yet to be heard from, a liquor official said Thursday.Meanwhile, a suit has been filed contending the new laws would "put the tavern industry out of business" and asking that the court permanently enjoin the state from enforcing tavern-related provisions.
The longtime practice of brown-bagging will be prohibited law Jan. 1, and tavern owners have told legislators and liquor regulators that this practice, through the sale of mixers, has accounted for a significant portion of their revenues.
The ban carries an exemption allowing people to brown-bag corked wines into restaurants, but the exemption does not extend to taverns.
Since amendments were passed early this year, tavern owners have complained that new restrictions were discriminatory and could spell forced closure for many of them.
Brent Bohman, an attorney representing the Utah License Beverage Association, said Thursday the suit contends that in enacting new liquor provisions, the Legislature systematically discriminated against taverns while favoring private clubs and restaurants.