You’ve probably heard that Utah could face a—GASP!—beer shortage, at least in lawn-mower beer. You know, that rusty pipe-tasting stuff put out by Budweiser, Coors, PBR, etc. that only really tastes good after you’ve mowed a lawn on a hot day.
The problem is that some of the states, including Colorado and Oklahoma, that ban supermarkets and Kwiky-Marts from selling beer with higher than 3.2 percent alcohol are liberalizing their regulations. With fewer states requiring the nasty stuff, big breweries may decide it just is not profitable to make it.
Utah Beer Wholesalers Association President Jim Olsen says near-beer supplies would be “dramatically reduced as far as selection and sizes."
So unless Utah drops it’s ban on heavy beer in supermarkets, you’ll have to buy your beer—at a slightly higher octane—from state liquor stores. (We needn't remind you that liquor stores are not open on Sundays.)
But, as you know, when our Heavenly Father closes a door; he opens a window. This crap-beer shortage could be a blessing to Utah beer makers.
Adam Curfew, production director at Utah Brewers Cooperative, says no one has stategized on monetizing the shortage yet, but Utah beer makers could fill the vacuum of light-weight slop on store shelves.
“Somebody would have to fill the gap and we could do it,” Curfew says. (It would take an ocean of beer to make up for the 3.2 darth, but we love Curfew's can-do, buy-local spirit.)
Ironically, the first challenge for small brewers would be to lower their aesthetic standards. 3.2 brew is, afterall, not exactly an art form.
“It’s such a completely different animal,” says Curfew. “The average Bud drinker doesn’t want a craft IPA.”
But the cooperative has some experience in low-brow brews, he says, “We used to bottle a beer called First Amendment, an America lager that’s very similar,” he says. “If there were demand, we could easily start bottling that beer.”