The rest walked away, empty-handed, perhaps to return in December, when one more such license is expected to be available.
This is absurd.
If we were to really allow the marketplace rather than government action to determine the "winners and losers" in any arena, it would be profoundly easier for any businessperson who has gone through the pains of writing a business plan, lining up the money, perhaps even leasing space and opening her doors, to get the required liquor licenses.
Any civilized society would put restrictions and conditions on the license, of course. Things such as hours of operation, minimum training for waiters, barmaids and other staff, and firm prohibitions with firm penalties for, say, serving under-age customers.
Other states have quotas for the number of liquor outlets based on the size of their population. But Utah's limits are so restrictive that they bear little resemblance to a market-driven system.
Utahns, as a species, are not big drinkers. Thus a true market-based system would still provide less demand for liquor-serving business than, say, almost anywhere. And the marketplace would adjust itself accordingly.
The excessive limits that Utah places on those licenses betrays a mistrust not only of the state's entrepreneurs, but also of its citizenry as a whole. It presumes that people who would otherwise consume responsibly, or not at all, are so easily swayed by the existence of more bars and liquor-serving restaurants, even the sight of beer and wine being poured in plain sight, that we will swoon before John Barleycorn.
Thus the reputation of Utah as a pro-business state must be taken with a large grain of salt. And no tequila.