SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – Utah’s liquor laws are once again getting attention.
This time on the front page of the New York Times.
The article describes the “relaxed but peculiar” laws in Utah.
The story was so popular that in Salt Lake County nearly every newsstand was sold out.
One of the businesses featured was the Vuz Restaurant in Draper.
Inside the new eatery sits a bar counter with stools and a partition that prevents anyone from looking at the bartender.
Utah's law requires a partition to prevent customers from seeing the bar at eateries.
And customers of the Vuz Restaurant wonder why.
“They are surprised why the wall is there,” said Filip Saprkin the executive manager of Vuz. “The number one question is what is the wall, why is it there and we have to explain we don’t have a bar license.”
But they still serve liquor from behind the partition at the Vuz. There were other odd requirements featured in the article and it does affect the Vuz. Example, restaurants must cover liquor when they close and can't display liquor in the open. Inside the restaurant is a wall of bottled wines served at the Vuz. But all bottles are empty.
“People like to look at Utah laws and say we have quirky laws," said Sam Granato, a former member of the Department of Alcohol, Beverage Control.
He said despite obstacles businesses and DABC make it work for Utahans.
"We're one of 18 controlled states,” he said. “We do a wonderful job with the control. We're going to need more education as we go along. But we make a hundred million dollars a year net profit."
The article also points the finger at the Mormon Church that influences policy makers. A large majority of state lawmakers are LDS.
Legislators are meeting in a special session this week to tweek not change liquor laws.
“We have obligations to keep exposure to minors limited,” said Senate President Mike Waddoups. “We have obligations to protect the public.”
For now, business owners said they will continue to struggle behind the so-called “Zion curtain” but welcome stories like the one found Wednesday in the New York Times.
"I hope that attention gets to the government and they …relax the laws,” said Saprkin.
To view the article go to www.nytimes.com/2011/07/20/us/20liquor.