THE POSITIVE IMPACTS OF 
ALCOHOL PRIVATIZATION IN UTAH
  • Bootlegging will cease to exist as residents realize they can buy what they need in Utah instead of driving across state lines. Tens of millions of dollars will then flow into Utah tax coffers each year rather than the border states.
     

  • Substantially reduced bootlegging will also result in a much higher percentage of health and public safety. Because residents will not have to drive to other states, this will significantly reduce carbon emissions, accidents, highway deaths, and DUI’s.
     

  • Fiscal year 2019 alcohol sales amounted to over $500 million dollars. If the average sale in the state liquor store system was $25, consumers made over 20 million unnecessary trips to buy their libations; $15 (which is more feasible) amounted to well over 33 million. The availability of alcohol and wine in grocery/convenience stores and direct shipping (wine only) to households for those over 21 years old limits unnecessary driving to out-of-the-way liquor stores. Privatizing helps significantly reduce accidents, DUI's, deaths, and carbon emissions, especially in the Salt Lake Valley, where inferior air quality is all too real.
     

  • Because the state now has the lowest BAC law at .05 in the country (to be in line with other parts of the world, from what Rep. Norm Thurston says), there are no worries about increases in drunk driving or DUI’s.
     

  • And since we want to be more in line with other parts of the world, putting wine, liquor, and beer in grocery stores correlates to the systems of other civilized states and countries. This way, when tourists visit Utah, they won’t feel so out of touch with reality. Thanks, Norm!
     

  • Because Latter-day Saints are prohibited from consuming alcohol, the only way alcohol consumption will go up is due to tourism and population growth from others moving into the state. Which, as we are aware from the mega-apartment and housing boom, is happening daily.

  • Privatization will create thousands of new jobs. DABC employees are not paid a livable wage, and many have to work additional jobs just to make ends meet. Additionally, most employees are not allowed to work full-time because the state would have to pay for health insurance and other benefits. Though roughly 550 employees would lose their jobs with the DABC if privatization were to occur, these employees would be able to find better, higher-paying positions in the private sector. While the exact amount of jobs privatization would create cannot be entirely ascertained, the need for specialty retail positions in grocery stores, convenience stores, and private liquor stores throughout the state will exceed the positions lost at the DABC. Private wholesalers would also create many new jobs required to fulfill alcohol distribution to the retail and on-premise sectors. 

  • With privatization, underage drinking may actually go down. Why? When something is stigmatized and limited, such as alcohol in Utah, hoarding and abuse rates increase. Just look at the Prohibition Era; if anything, consumption and abuse increased while giving birth to the black market. By taking away the stigma of a legal product, underage residents won’t feel like they need to get it. Underage prevention is ultimately taught in the home and often reinforced in religious settings. If underage drinking occurs, legal guardians have ignored their role, and religion has failed to inflict enough guilt to curb such attitudes.
     

  • The fact of the matter is, alcohol is already in Utah. Those who choose to abuse it will, and those under 21 years of age who want alcohol will find a way to get it, whether it’s state-run or private retail.  Privatizing alcohol doesn’t increase abuse or underage drinking. Privatizing only does what’s right by not discriminating against outside business interests and restores the rights of those 21 years or older. The ability to purchase different products at competitive prices without jumping through hoops ensures laws aren’t broken and reduces public animosity with the Utah government. 
     

  • The Pandemic has proven yet another reason for privatization. With wine, liquor, and beer available in private walled-off-sections of grocery and convenience stores, consumers would not have to expose themselves twice to the deadly virus. Essential businesses should be located within other essential businesses. If the LDS population is concerned about alcohol located in essential businesses, then perhaps repurposing the state liquor stores into small grocery stores for the LDS masses and housing a small selection of essential products is the answer. And, with no refrigeration, of course.

POSITIVE IMPACTS