This interesting tidbit comes by way of the Fermenting Barrel via Tomme Arthur (thanks, Tomme), who knew my little crusading heart would appreciate the inanity of it all. It seems a new ordinance in the southern Utah town of Springville “requires beer displays be erected no closer than 15 feet from a store’s public entrance.” The Utah County Health Department’s Division of Substance Abuse also wanted retailers to keep all “beer 10 feet back from a store’s front windows,” too, but the City Council decided instead to just keep it away from the front doors. According to a story in the Salt Lake Tribune, “Richard Nance, substance-abuse division director, said the goal is to try to ensure that children do not get mixed messages about where the community stands on alcohol use.” What exactly is that mixed message he’s so worried about? Seriously, what is it? Anybody know? I mean, despite a huge religious influence in Utah, beer is still legal there, right? So what message is being sent by its proximity to the front door, for chrissakes?
Retailers, however, don’t appear too concerned about the new law — not that there’s much they could probably do anyway. Apparently most stores already keep their beer stock in the back of the store, which is also where most keep the milk, isn’t it? One added benefit, I suppose, is that less beer may be exposed to the light streaming through the front door, which may reduce skunking (hey, I’m looking for the silver lining here).
The Fermenting Barrel‘s take:
Tell me this, are the kids absorbing the alcohol by being in the mere vicinity of a case of beer? Can’t the kids still walk to the back of the store and *gasp* be exposed to beer? Or are the children confined to the front of the store?
In my opinion there’s way worse things kids can be exposed to right at the counter, say…pornography, cigarettes, or even junk food, candy, and soda. Last I checked diabetes was one of the worst epidemics in the US. How does it usually develop? Through obesity caused from a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. How about going even a little further, what about all the easy access kids have to the crap on TV, the Internet, and movies.
OK, I’m done ranting. You get my point. There’s bigger fish to fry than fretting over kids walking past a case of beer when they walk in a store. Just leave it to Utah to come up with even more insane alcohol laws. As if their laws weren’t already weird enough.
Mark, Seattle WA says
To be nitpicky and pedantic, light doesn’t cause oxidation. It does skunk the hop compounds, though.
Anyway, I fully agree with your (and Tomme’s) assessment.
Keith Brainard says
J, you are right on with this post. I read FB’s post, and wished to write on it, but I just couldn’t do it – I was too emotional. A combination of disgust and outrage. But yet at the same time, it is all so strange.
The only thing I can think of is the desire to restrict kids’ access to seeing drunk people. But I think that is a bit of a stretch.
I would also like to know, where does “the community” stand on alcohol use? I know a really very devout fundamentalist Christian (not a Mormon, though) who drinks beer (but has “never been drunk”). There’s no more righteous Christain than my old friend, so where exactly does the “no beer” thing come from? Is there like a Bible verse about it? Also, where do they display the wine? How about the spirits? And besides this all, they have a beer ABV cap anyway!! (hmm, maybe they don’t sell wine or spirits?)