Legislature takes mini alcohol bottle decision from DABS Commission

SALT LAKE CITY — The decision on whether or not Utah will remain the only state in the union to forbid the sale of mini alcohol bottles has stalled yet again.

The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services Commission opted not to vote on the issue at its monthly meeting yesterday, with Commission Chair Juliette Tennert stating that the legislature views an administrative rule change that would legalize 50 milliliter liquor bottles as a “major alcohol policy issue” that it should examine.

“Commissioner Thue and I met with legislative leadership in the last couple of weeks to discuss this topic, the feeling of legislative leadership is that the sale of these smaller bottles in the stores is a major alcohol policy issue,” Tennert said. “In Utah, the legislature has authority over alcohol policy issues… as a commission we work on operational decisions and that is where that line has been drawn. Given that legislative leadership is telling us that they see this as a major policy issue and have asked to take it up in the elected body, I am going to respect that request.”

The administrative rule would have allowed for the sale of mini bottles in state-run liquor stores, but they still would not have been permitted in restaurants or bars.

The DABS Commission has been working on the rule for months, having first considered it at its July 26 meeting. The rule underwent a formal 30 day pubic comment period that ended on October 15, during which the commission received 491 pieces of public comment. 324 were in support of the rule, and 157 were in opposition.

“As a commission, we put a lot of work into this,” Tennert said. “I appreciate the work of this commission, we did a lot of due diligence on this.”

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