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Bill would help Utah beer, wine makers up production

Published March 1, 2013 10:11 pm

Alcohol • Advocates say changes would make operations in state more competitive.
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Utah-based breweries, distilleries and wineries would be allowed to make more of their alcoholic beverage without taking a major financial hit under a bill advancing through the Senate.

Under existing law, breweries can make 60,000 barrels of beer, distilleries 30,000 gallons of spirits and wineries 20,000 gallons before they lose a break on the required markup on alcoholic beverages.

Jay Yahne of The Hive Winery in Layton said that under the old law, he would've had to produce 26,000 barrels to pay the markup and make a profit.

SB248, sponsored by Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, raises the thresholds to 100,000 barrels of beer, 60,000 gallons of spirits and 40,000 gallons of wine.

Yahne said the change means he can grow his winery and begin exporting his product out of state.

Greg Schirf, president of Wasatch Brewery, said the change will let his operation compete with the conglomerates that have lower production costs.

The Senate Business and Labor Committee approved the bill unanimously, as well as another Valentine bill that lets sellers of wine and spirits hold tastings for large buyers at Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control locations before the alcohol is purchased.




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