SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A bill that would allow Utah retailers to sell stronger beer cleared another hurdle Tuesday.
State Sen. Jerry Stevenson’s bill, S.B. 132, passed its final approval vote in the Utah State Senate with a vote of 27-2.
The bill would allow local retailers to sell beer with 4.8 percent alcohol by weight instead of the current 3.2 percent.
Sen. Stevenson (R-Layton), the bill’s sponsor, contended, “responsible drinkers at 3.2 will be responsible at 4.8. I don’t believe that we are changing the paradigm here.” He also pointed out that more and more beer manufacturers have moved away from making 3.2 beer.
However, the bill does face some opposition.
State Sen. Lyle Hillyard (R-Logan) said he voted ‘no’ on the bill. He said his concern is that “the next step will be will be to put wine in grocery stores.”
Other groups have criticized the bill for not going far enough.
Utah and Minnesota are the only two states left where only 3.2 percent beer can be sold in grocery and convenience stores. Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas have all decided to abandon the limit in recent years.
It’s now off to the House.