Every state has its own unique set of liquor laws, but Utah’s liquor laws are quite a bit stricter than most. Although sweeping liquor law reforms were made in 2009 to help modernize the state’s regulations (customers no longer have to fill out an application and pay a fee for the privilege of entering a bar), quirks still abound. One quirk has been the ban on standard-sized beer kegs, but Utah Brewers Cooperative (home to Squatters and Wasatch Beers) worked around the ban by offering a 5-liter mini-keg known as a Chubby, but those days are now over – Utah has banned all containers holding five liters or more, effectively forcing the Chubby into early retirement.
It comes as part of a new set of legislation passed by a government heavily populated by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a religion that frowns on alcohol consumption. “Lawmakers reinstated the so-called Zion curtains in restaurants opened after January 2010,” reports the Salt Lake Tribune. “Diners in newer eateries may not see into partitions built to hide from public view bartenders and open liquor bottles. Lawmakers also refused to free up more bar licenses, which are in such short supply that none is likely to become available for the next two years.”
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The Chubby mini-keg was another casualty of the liquor law tightening. The kegs, which were introduced only this February and hold the equivalent of fairly modest fourteen 12-oz bottles, were lauded for their convenience and ease of recyclability over glass bottles. Greg Schirf, Utah Brewers Cooperative managing partner, reportedly referred to the mini-keg ban as “a heartbreaker,” but certainly not a mortal wound for the brewery. “We were excited about the Chubby,” Schirf told the Salt Lake Tribune. “But we’ve moved on. And certainly with the bent of the Legislature, it could have been much worse.”
Those interested in picking up a few last Chubby mini-kegs can purchase them at the Squatters & Wasatch Brewery & Beer Store in Salt Lake City, as well as the Wasatch Brew Pub in Park City. After October 1, all remaining kegs will be shipped off for retail out of state.