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Flavored malt beverages return to Utah

Published December 12, 2008 3:29 pm

Back in stock » New state law had interrupted sales
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For those who have a taste for flavored malt beverages such as Mike's Hard Lemonade and Jack Daniels Wildberry Jack, you no longer have to go to Nevada or Wyoming.

Larger, state-controlled liquor stores now stock a few of the beverages in Utah.

Earlier this year, lawmakers restricted flavored malt beverages, which contain the same alcohol content as 3.2 beer sold in grocery stores, to state outlets. But the same law that stopped grocery stores from selling the beverages also had new labeling requirements that manufacturers were unable to comply with until recently.

By mid-October, existing supplies had run out.

This month, re-labeled flavored malt beverages have been rushed to many of the state's larger liquor stores, said Tom Zdunich, purchasing director for the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Other state liquor outlets will be stocking the products, based on customer requests.

Beverages in the state warehouse that are ready to be shipped to state stores include the Mike's Lemonade brand and Jack Daniels lemonade and punches. Zdunich said he is still waiting for Smirnoff Ice and Parrott Bay products, but he has no date when shipments may resume.

Other manufacturers have chosen not to relabel their products for what is considered the tiny Utah market. Anheuser-Busch spokesman Andrew Baldonado said his company will no longer ship its Bacardi Silver and Tequiza malt beverages to Utah.

Under the new law, all flavored malt beverages, including ones with a higher alcohol content than 3.2 percent by weight and long sold in state outlets, had to be re-labeled.

When the law went into effect on Oct. 1, grocery stores were required to destroy all 3.2 malt beverages they had on hand. The state, however, was allowed to continue selling its products with the old labels until supplies ran out.

dawn@sltrib.com