An advocacy group for wine drinkers has ranked Utah 51 out of 51 for American states (and D.C.) when it comes to loving on wine and wine drinkers. If you do the math, you'll realize that means that Utah is dead last in America!
According to the American Wine Consumer Coalition: "No state ranks lower than Utah when it comes to wine consumer friendliness. Utah wine lovers live under severe and arbitrary restrictions when it comes to access to wine and convenience."
The nationally circulated report is likely to deeply depress the state's hospitality, skiing, convention and restaurant businesses that have been trying for years to counteract the widely held belief that "You can't get a drink in Utah."
In case anyone missed the point, besides the dead-last ranking, the AWCC also gave Utah an "F" in wineliness, pointing out that the state:
Prohibits selling wine in grocery stores, meaning wine drinkers "are inconvenienced and have a remarkably limited choice of wine..."
Prohibits through arbitrary "blue laws" the sale of wine on Sundays.
State bureaucrats hold a monopoly on wine sales, "depriving the state's wine consumers of the benefits of competition and free trade." (Sounds like rampant socialism to us.)
Prohibits winery-to-consumer shipping.
Prohibits retailer-to-consumer shipping.
Utah wine drinkers, of course, already knew all all the above, not to mention the difficulty of getting a decent cocktail under byzantine state laws.
Dawn House at the Trib, got a predictable quote from Sen. John "Lord of the Liquor Laws" Valentine who said the ranking "is a badge of honor."
All of which makes us wonder once again, if wine, beer and spirits are unspeakably evil, why doesn't the Legislature outlaw drinking altogether. Oh yeah, money.