Finding your favorite hard seltzer in Utah is about to get much more difficult.
The state legislature has passed bills that will eliminate about half the seltzer options from supermarket and convenience store shelves. The banned items will still be available at state-run liquor stores, but those are much harder to find throughout the state.
The issue for legislators is the use of ethyl alcohol, which about half of the seltzers use, usually in just small amounts.
According to Michelle Schmitt, a spokesperson for the state’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, the bill impacts 39 of the 80 seltzers currently sold in the state.
State liquor stores are the only location where wine and hard liquor can be sold in Utah. Moving half of the hard seltzers to those locations will have a major impact on the industry.
“These represent kind of irreplaceable losses to our company as well as threatening jobs,” Shanna Clay, director of operations for Salt Lake City-based M&M Distributing, said during a legislative hearing on the bill, according to the Associated Press.
The other seltzers that will remain on store shelves use glycol-based flavorings.
Clay said the change will create many complications at both the local and national level, and will impact the supply chain.
“The suppliers are having to go back to their flavoring houses to see what can be reformulated with ethyl alcohol, or to try to get it switched over to propylene glycol,” Clay told the Salt Lake Tribune. “That then touches packaging, food, nutrition labels, and ingredients. It creates hiccups across the whole system, and everyone’s going to encounter that with this short window of trying to get products compliant.”
The law, expected to be signed by Governor Spencer Cox, would take effect in July, and retailers would have a 6-month window to comply.
Most of the legislators are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which believes in abstinence from all alcohol.
Utah has some of the strictest alcohol measures in the state, from what can be sold on store shelves to driving under the influence regulations.
Consumers will find the change confusing, according to Clay.
“Because to the consumer of hard seltzer, 5 percent (alcohol volume) is 5 percent,” she said.
Clay told the Tribune that her company currently provides seltzers to more than 1,300 stores across the state. When the new law kicks in, the drinks will only be available in the 45 state stores.
According to the Tribune, here is a list of brands that will be available in all stores, and those for just state-run stores, when the law begins.
State Liquor Stores Only
- Five flavors of Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer
- Three flavors of Bud Light Seltzer
- Six flavors of Coors Seltzer
- Three flavors of Leinenkugel’s Spritzen
- Five flavors of Pompette Hard Sparkling Water
- Four flavors of Truly Hard Seltzer
- Thirteen flavors of Vizzy Hard Seltzer
- Eight flavors of Flying Embers Hard Kombucha
- Four flavors of Jiant Hard Kombucha
- Two flavors of Juneshine Hard Kombucha
Grocery And Convenience Stores
- Four flavors of Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer
- Nine flavors of Breckenridge Good Company Hard Seltzer
- One flavor of Bud Light Hard Seltzer
- Four flavors of Four Peaks Solar Powered Hard Seltzer
- Two flavors of Golden Road Fruit Cart Hard Seltzer
- Two flavors of Grid City Bubble Works Hard Seltzer
- Four flavors of Kona Spiked Island Hard Seltzer
- One flavor of Natural Light Naturdays Hard Seltzer
- One flavor of Pakka Hard Water
- Three flavors of Roosters Hard Seltzer
- One flavor of Steel Reserve Hard Seltzer
- Four flavors of 10 Barrell Clean Line Hard Seltzer
- Three flavors of White Claw Hard Seltzer