LDS Church opposes bill to increase alcohol content of beer sold in Utah stores


    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on Monday its opposition to a measure that would increase the alcohol content of beer sold in Utah grocery and convenience stores. (Photo: KUTV FILE)

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on Monday its opposition to a measure that would increase the alcohol content of beer allowed to be sold in Utah grocery and convenience stores.

    The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Davis County, would amend Utah's law to allow beer with an alcohol content of up to 4.8 to be sold outside of Utah liquor stores.

    Supporters of the bill argue it is necessary for such retailers to continue to stock alcoholic products, as national production of lower-percentage beers declines.

    Stevenson told 2News on Feb. 1 he sees it as a business measure, with an eye on ensuring small stores keep their inventory and traffic.

    "The Church opposes Senate bill 132 in its current form. We, along with other community groups, oppose legislation which represents a fifty percent increase in alcohol content for beer sold in grocery and convenience stores," wrote Marty Stephens, the director of government relations for the Church, in a statement to 2News. "As you are aware, there are a number of organizations who hold this same position, including substance abuse groups."

    When asked previously, the Church had not commented to 2News about the its position on the measure.

    In a committee meeting last week, representatives from the Church were not among those who voiced opposition to Stevenson's bill.

    The Sutherland Institute, Eagle Forum and individuals concerned about underage drinking expressed disapproval at the meeting Thursday.

    Among those opposing the measure was the Utah Brewers Guild, an organization that supports craft brewing in the Beehive State. The guild, notably, said its opposition was because it wanted a bill that would raise alcohol content higher than 4.8, which it said would be more favorable to craft brewers.

    The bill was approved unanimously in committee on Thursday.

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