30-day liquor ban at three R&R BBQ spots; and Post Malone wine almost gone in Utah

FILE - This Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, file photo shows Post Malone performing at the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration in New York. Post Malone is the sunflower of the 2020 Billboard Music Awards. The multi-platinum 25-year-old star scored 16 nominations, dick clark productions and NBC announced Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. Malone’s nominations include top artist, top male artist, top rap artist and top streaming songs artist. (Photo by Ben Hider/Invision/AP, File)

Three R&R Barbecue stores in Utah will not be able to sell alcohol for at least 30 days, after the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control suspended their liquor licenses.

On Tuesday, the state liquor commission approved the temporary suspensions — in a split 4-3 vote — after managers at the R&R stores in North Salt Lake, Farmington and Pleasant Grove failed to attend an alcohol training class or get a background check, as required by state law.

The harsh punishment is designed as a warning to all businesses that serve alcohol in the state, said commissioner Thomas Jacobson. “This is an ideal situation to send a message,” he said, “that you don’t take advantage of staff and when they contact you, you take them seriously.”

In addition to Jacobson, commissioners Steven Bateman, Stanley Parrish and chairman John Nielsen voted in favor of the suspension, while Sophia DiCaro, Jacquelyn Orton and Juliette Tennert, the board’s newest member, were opposed.

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A DABC compliance officer said R&R was notified in July that managers needed the training and background checks in order to get its liquor licenses renewed. But the company failed to comply for several more months, despite subsequent DABC warnings.

Josh Boshard, R&R’s chief operating officer, apologized for “dropping the ball.” He said R&R’s director of operations — the person in charge of alcohol licensing — left the company in July. The job was passed on to another employee, who left the company in August. A third employee given the responsibility also has resigned.

In early November, the managers at two R&R stores in Salt Lake City completed training and background checks. Those stores will continue to serve alcohol.

The managers at the three other stores are expected to submit their documentation soon, Boshard said.

But despite being in compliance, the stores will be unable to serve beer or wine for 30 days.

Post Malone wine selling fast

Bottles of Maison No. 9, the French rose wine produced for Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter — and Utah resident — Post Malone, are nearly sold out in Utah.

About 75 bottles were left in the entire state on Nov. 25. All the liquor stores in Salt Lake, Davis and Tooele counties were sold out, but a few bottles remained in Park City, Cedar City, St. George, Moab and Vernal.

The wine is about $22 a bottle and has limited distribution — which means once it’s sold out, there will be no more shipments of that particular vintage. Use the DABC’s product locator to find which stores still have it.

The wine has been selling out in other states, too, and the MDCV Winery near Saint-Tropez in the French Riviera says it is already working on the 2021 version. Fans already know about the MDCV winery — it makes a cameo in Malone’s popular “Saint-Tropez” video.

Malone — whose real name is Austin Post and is frequently spotted around the state — has been a spokesman for Bud Light for several years. He ventured into wine after working with actor Mark Wahlberg, who has an extensive wine collection and is Malone’s co-star on Netflix’s “Spenser Confidential.”

Turkey farmer pardons 14 birds

In an act of Thanksgiving clemency, a Utah poultry farmer — who owns one of the largest processing operations in the nation — released 14 turkeys to an animal rights network this week.

In return for the birds, which were taken to an animal sanctuary, the activists donated food and holiday gifts to employees and residents in the Moroni community.

This holiday exchange is the result of an unlikely friendship between Rick Pitman, the owner of Pitman Family Farms (part of Norbest), and Wayne Hsiung, the Buddhist co-founder of the animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE).

In 2017, six activists affiliated with DxE, including Hsiung, were charged with felonies after removing a sick bird from the Utah farm. But rather than continuing their fight in court, the two sides decided to take a different path.

“With so many scary things happening in the world around us,” said Hsiung in a news release, “the least we can do is to treat one another with kindness and understanding — especially during the holiday season.”

Dining deals in Park City

The Park City Area Restaurant Association has launched a new Dine Local, Save Local promotion that gives customers discounts on food and helps struggling restaurants.

Those who sign up will receive a $25 gift certificate by mail that can be redeemed when they spend at least $50 on food at participating Park City restaurants through Dec. 31, 2020.

Sorry, certificates can’t be applied to alcohol, taxes or tips. Supplies are limited, and guests need to sign up before Dec. 15 to receive the certificate. For more details, visit parkcityrestaurants.com/whats-fresh.