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National coffee giant Starbucks has abandoned its plans to serve beer and wine in Utah.
The chain "did not renew its master liquor license" before the annual Sept. 30 deadline, Nina McDermott, director of compliance at the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC), told The Tribune on Tuesday.
Could the state-mandated liquor dispensing area known as a "Zion Curtain" be to blame?
McDermott didn't speculate, saying she was "uncertain" why Starbucks did not file its annual renewal papers and fees.
Even the Seattle-based chain is saying little about the move.
"There are no updates on if Starbucks stores in Utah may get (the) Evenings menu," the media department said in an email.
In February, the DABC granted Starbucks a master liquor license that would have allowed it to serve wine and beer with food at specific stores in Salt Lake City, Holladay, Farmington, Lehi and Park City.
Starbucks officials told the DABC that it planned to implement the company's new "Evenings" dining program that offers small plates with wine and beer to customers. The dining program is already in 10 states and 75 Starbucks across the country.
In Utah, Starbucks would have to spend money in each store to increase the kitchen and food preparation areas as well as create a 7-foot-high barrier that would prevent customers from seeing the pouring of alcohol.
Under state law, restaurants with a limited-service liquor license can sell wine and beer as long as 70 percent of the overall sales is food, which includes coffee.
Starbucks officials told the DABC that they could easily meet the food/alcohol ratio. Alcohol would not be sold to go or at the drive-up windows.
The Utah Legislature created the master license category in 2014 and Starbucks was the first company to apply and receive the special permit.