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Utah poised to tighten rules on booze education

Published April 15, 2014 10:01 pm

Alcohol • Advisory board recommends tougher screening of applicants.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In the future, applicants for one of Utah's alcohol-education permits may first have to prove they are qualified to teach about wine, beer and spirits — something that hasn't been required in the past.

Proper certification is one of several recommendations approved Tuesday by the state's liquor advisory board, made up of restaurant and club representatives.

The advisory board also recommended that applicants submit detailed information about hours of operation, pricing and server-training procedures.

"We don't want to make so many rules that it stymies a great educator," said advisory-board chairman Fred Boutwell, with Gastronomy. "But there has to be a distinction that it is alcohol education and not just an amenity to the business."

The additional information, Boutwell added, should help staffers at the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (UDABC) and the liquor commission decide if something is truly educational.

The liquor commission is expected to discuss the advisory board's recommendations at its April 29 meeting.

For several years, culinary schools, restaurants, even grocery stores in Utah have been able to offer alcohol classes and tastings, thanks to the state's educational liquor permit.

But in recent months, as more non-food-industry businesses — namely painting studios — have requested these educational liquor permits, it has raised red flags for the UDABC.

Since January, all requests for alcohol-education permits have been on hold while the new rules were discussed.

That has affected Kristen Floyd, who applied for an education permit for her soon-to-open business, Liquid Canvas, a painting and wine-education studio in Ogden.

"I know others have turned their [painting] businesses into bars," she said. "Be we could definitely comply with the standards proposed today."

kathys@sltrib.com