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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"Alco-Pop", Liquor Laws, and Legislative Stupidity

For those of you who have never been to Utah, one thing becomes very clear very quickly to tourists who consume alcoholic beverages: Utah has the strangest liquor laws in the country.

While I, myself, am not a drinker, I have found myself both intrigued and disgusted by the current 'debates' raging over "alco-pop" in Utah. The term was coined to describe drinks such as Mike's Hard Lemonade which have a 'flavor', and which the legislators insist attract teenage drinkers.

Here is a news flash: those teens who want to consume alcohol are not really concerned about the fun flavors - most alcohol has some nastiness to its taste. Teens who drink are mostly concerned about having fun and being uninhibited/brave: both of which they associate with drinking alcohol.

So, in its infinite wisdom, the Utah State Legislature has spent considerable time in this session creating and passing a law which would take "alco-pop" out of the grocery stores and put it into liquor stores. This plan has now backfired on them. While both entities have to I.D. individuals before selling alcohol to them, the "alco-pop" sold in grocery stores was of a lower alcoholic content.

Now because it will have to be sold in the liquor store, the rules have changed and the alcoholic content will increase significantly. This means that those teens with access to these beverages will now be getting significantly more alcohol per bottle than they did before. We may well see more problems associated with teen drinking now, rather than less.

Way to go, Utah State Legislature. I am so glad to see my tax dollars going to such a worthy cause instead of other trite issues like lowering my taxes, improving our schools, etc.

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