Folks in Utah Can Forget Having These Hard Seltzers at Their Next BBQ After This New State Ban

by Lauren Boisvert

In terms of the hard seltzer ban, we’d like to extend our sincerest condolences to Utah; the Senate just voted to ban certain hard seltzers in the state. No more Truly, Coors, or Bud Light seltzers, to name a few, as well as hard kombucha. The ban came in at a 19-8 vote, aimed at drinks that use certain flavorings. The flavorings contain trace amounts of ethyl alcohol, according to AP News. This would make the drinks illegal to sell in convenience and grocery stores. About 39 different hard seltzers would be pulled from shelves.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox still has to sign the bill. According to M&M Distributing representative Shanna Clay, this move could hurt the company, which is based in Salt Lake City. It could harm other distributors in the area as well. During the legislative hearing, Clay stated, “These represent kind of irreplaceable losses to our company as well as threatening jobs.”

Utah Hard Seltzer Ban Threatens Jobs, Possibly Influenced By Church

It seems that the Utah legislature is going to try to negotiate around the seltzer ban, according to House sponsor Representative Steve Waldrip. “We will address this issue with seltzers, but in the meantime, we have to comply with our laws,” he said.

In Utah, the only legal place to get beer, wine, and liquor is a state-owned liquor store. The presence of the Church of Latter-day Saints, which follows abstinence from alcohol, regularly influenced the state alcohol laws in the past. The late Kenneth Wynn, executive director of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for 30 years, tried to create a balance between the Church and the state’s liquor laws. An unconventional Mormon, he prominently fought against the Church influencing lawmakers over liquor laws.

Additionally, whether the Church had a hand in this one as well is unknown. As it stands, religion is definitely still a big influence in Utah.

Recent Liquor News: US-Based Liquor Stores Pull Russian Vodka from Shelves

In recent news, US-based state-run liquor stores have started pulling Russian vodka from their shelves in support of Ukraine. Utah is the latest to pull Russian brands; Governor Spencer Cox had the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control remove the brands from shelves recently.

“We will do our part to push back on the Russian invaders and stand with our sisters and brothers in Ukraine,” said Cox. Although the sentiment is there – a desire to support Ukraine and to potentially cripple Russia’s economy – only 1.2 percent of the United States’ vodka comes from Russia. Additionally, certain Russian-themed brands are produced in the US, such as Smirnoff and Stolichnaya.

In terms of the invasion, many Russian citizens oppose Putin, demonstrating protests in the streets of Russia. Latvia-based Stoli Group, which makes Stolichnaya, included a statement on their website showing solidarity with Ukraine. “Stoli Group stands for peace in Europe and solidarity with the Ukrainian people,” it reads.