Frequently Asked Questions
What is the legal drinking age in Utah?
You must be at least 21 years of age to purchase, possess, or be provided with any alcoholic beverage. Acceptable forms of identification include: a valid passport, a valid U.S. driver's license or military identification card with a date of birth and a photo, or an official U.S. state issued identification card.
Where can I buy packaged alcoholic beverage products to go?
All packaged liquor, wine and full-strength beer must be purchased from a Utah state liquor store or a package agency. There are 41 state stores (including three specialty wine stores) and 111 smaller package agencies. Some hotels and resorts have package agencies to accommodate their guests through room service. For a complete list of all store and package agency locations, click here. Beer (with 3.2% alcohol content by weight) in bottles or cans may be purchased to go at most grocery and convenience stores in Utah.
Where can I buy a cocktail, a glass of wine, or a beer in Utah?
Liquor, wine, full-strength beer, and beer (3.2% alcohol) are available by the glass at licensed restaurants and clubs. Wine is also available by the bottle in these establishments. Beer may also be purchased in many places that have a "beer only" type license. These include taverns, beer bars, smaller restaurants or cafes, snack bars, etc.
Alcohol beverage service in a licensed restaurant requires that you order food with your drink, that your beverage be delivered to your table or counter by your server, and that you consume your drink at or near the table or counter.
Alcohol beverage service in a club does not require that you order food. Full bar service and table service are both available. Persons under the age of 21 are not allowed in the lounge or bar area of a club.
Beer service in "beer only" establishments does not require that you order food. Note, however, that persons under the age of 21 years may not be on the premises of certain "beer only" establishments such as taverns, beer bars, nightclubs, or cabarets.
What is a "club"?
A “club" is a type of liquor license in Utah that provides full alcoholic beverage service at bar or table with or without an order of food. Most are either “social clubs” – bars or nightclubs with dancing and live music; or “dining clubs” - restaurants with bars. Other types of clubs are equity and fraternal clubs. There is no membership required to patronize a dining or social “club”.
Persons under the age of 21 years may not be on the premises of a social club, but may be in the dining area of a dining club if accompanied by a person who is 21 years of age or older. However, state law prohibits minors on the premises of the lounge or bar area of any club.
Are there restrictions on consuming alcoholic beverages in public places?
Yes. State law prohibits consuming liquor in a public building, park, stadium, or on a public bus. A person may not be intoxicated in a public place to a degree as to endanger himself or another, or unreasonably disturb others. Consuming or having an open container of alcohol in the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle is prohibited. Also, as a general rule, a person may not bring an alcoholic beverage onto the premises of an establishment open to the general public if it is to be consumed on the premises.
There are some exceptions to these state laws:
- First, you may have an open container of alcohol in the trunk of a motor vehicle so long as it is not accessible to the driver or passenger area of the vehicle.
- Second, you may, with the permission of the proprietor, bring bottled wine into a licensed restaurant or club to be served by the staff of the establishment. This exception does not apply if the establishment does not have a liquor license.
- Third, you may bring alcoholic beverages and consume them in a limousine or chartered bus under certain restrictions. For example, the driver of a limousine must be separated from the passengers by a partition, and the limousine's service must begin and end at the passenger's hotel, temporary domicile, or residence. On a chartered bus, you may consume alcoholic beverages on the way to your destination and on return, only if you are dropped off at your hotel, temporary domicile, or residence at the end of the trip. If you are dropped off at a location where you will likely have to drive to get back to your hotel or home, then alcohol may not be consumed in the chartered bus on the return trip.
- Note that local city, town or county laws may further restrict consumption of alcoholic beverages in public places. For example, a Park City law prohibits drinking beer or liquor, or possessing an open container of such beverages on a public street. A Salt Lake City ordinance says that no person shall open, possess, or consume an alcoholic beverage in a public place such as a street, sidewalk, alley, etc. unless a permit has been issued by the City to allow possession or consumption in the area (i.e. for a special event). These ordinances may be subject to change, so you should contact local officials for the latest updates.
Who enforces the alcoholic beverage laws in Utah?
These laws are enforced by the state's Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and by law enforcement agencies of local jurisdictions such as city police departments or county sheriff offices. These agencies have the authority to confiscate alcohol, issue citations, close events, and pursue criminal charges against those found to be in violation of Utah's laws.
The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) is not a law enforcement agency. It is primarily a retailer of alcohol through its state liquor stores and package agencies. It also issues licenses and permits to restaurants, clubs, and beer establishments (other than grocery and convenience stores), and organizers of temporary events. Even though the DABC is not a police agency, it is an excellent resource if you have questions concerning Utah's alcoholic beverage laws.
May I bring alcoholic beverages into Utah?
No. Under Utah law "alcoholic beverages" include all hard liquor, spirits, wine and beer. Beer and other malt beverage products that exceed 3.2% alcohol by weight or 4.0% by volume are considered "liquor", and beer with an alcohol content of 3.2% or less is defined as "beer".
Utah is a “control state”, and only the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) may lawfully have liquor products imported and shipped into Utah. Private individuals may not lawfully import or transport them into the state. Manufacturers and suppliers of these products may only supply them to the DABC. Only the DABC through its state liquor stores, package agencies, licensees and permittees may sell liquor products in Utah. Possession of liquor products not purchased from the DABC is strictly prohibited. Also, licensed restaurants and clubs cannot allow patrons to bring wines onto the premises if they were not purchased in Utah. Other Utah laws prohibit the unlawful importation of beer products into Utah.
There are very few exceptions to these laws. A person coming from a foreign country who clears U.S. customs in Utah may possess, for personal consumption, two liters of liquor purchased outside of Utah. Also, a person who moves his permanent residence to Utah or maintains separate residences both in and out of Utah, may possess for personal consumption, and not for sale or resale, liquor purchased outside of Utah. However, the person must first obtain DABC approval prior to moving to Utah; and upon the arrival of the product, the DABC will charge a nominal handling fee. A person may not obtain approval from the DABC under this exception more than once. A person may possess for personal consumption, and not for sale or resale, liquor inherited as part of an estate that is located outside the state and brought it into Utah, after obtaining the approval from the DABC and paying the required administrative handling fee.
Finally, accredited foreign diplomatic missions that establish a mission presence in Utah may ship, possess and purchase alcoholic beverages under certain exceptions granted under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.
Unless one of these exceptions applies, it is clear you may not bring alcoholic beverages into Utah for any purpose whether it be for personal consumption, to serve at a private social function, or to give or sell to others.
May our organization include alcoholic beverages in our shipping containers, and have them shipped to Utah?
No. It is illegal for anyone other than the DABC to ship alcoholic beverages into Utah.
Our organization already owns alcoholic beverages. May we bring them into Utah if we are willing to pay the additional mark-up and taxes?
No. Utah law requires that all alcoholic beverages be purchased from the state through one of its authorized outlets.
May an alcoholic beverage company that is sponsoring an organization or event , donate its alcoholic beverage products for use in Utah? No. Utah law prohibits a member of the alcoholic beverage industry from:
- giving away any of its alcoholic products to any person
- serving its products as part of a promotion of its products at a private social event
- offering its products to the general public without charge; or
- contributing to a civic or community event if the contribution is given to influence a retailer in the selection of alcoholic beverage products sold at the activity or event. The sponsor may donate money to your organization, and hope that you buy their products. But the sponsor cannot buy the products for your organization, or condition its donation on you buying its products
How can I get the wines or liquor that I want to serve in Utah during an event?
Utah's state liquor and wine stores have excellent selections of wines, spirits, and full-strength beers. The DABC keeps the stores well-stocked. However, if you want a product that DABC does not normally carry, or that is rare and somewhat difficult to obtain, you may special order it in advance. The DABC will accommodate your needs by ordering a product from any source that can legally sell it to them. Foreign products must be available through a U.S. importer.
A wide variety of beers (3.2% alcohol), including some from local micro-breweries, are available in most grocery stores in Utah.