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The amount of 3.2 percent beer produced by large national brewers and sold in Utah grocery and convenience stores could be drastically reduced in a few years, the ripple effect from a ballot measure in Oklahoma.

During Tuesday's general election, voters in the Sooner State overwhelming approved State Question 792 allowing wine and full-strength beer to be sold in grocery and convenience stores. The amendment will take effect Oct. 1, 2018.

Oklahoma — along with Colorado, Utah, Kansas and Minnesota — are the only five states in the country that require 3.2 percent beer by weight (or 4 percent by volume) to be sold in grocery and convenience stores.

But the numbers are dwindling. Earlier this year, Colorado also made changes to its liquor laws and will permit stronger beer to be sold in grocery stores beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

When the Oklahoma and Colorado changes take place, the percentage of the lighter beers would drop from 1.8 percent of all the beer brewed in the United States to 0.7 percent, said Jim Olsen, president of the Utah Beer Wholesalers Association.

Large companies, such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, which dominate the market, have indicated that it's not worth brewing lighter beer for such a small market, Olsen said. "There won't be that much beer consumed under the 3.2 label."

While 3.2 beer would not disappear, there are concerns the selection of national brands in Utah would become limited, dropping from dozens of options and container sizes to only a handful of products, Olsen said.

Companies that continue to brew the low-alcohol beer would likely do it less often, affecting availability and freshness, he said.

The changes also could affect the selection of 3.2 beer available on tap at bars and restaurants.

Utah beer wholesalers and retailers would like the Utah legislature to change state law to allow for higher-alcohol beer in grocery stores, Olsen said.

But in recent years, lawmakers, many of whom are Mormon and abstain from alcohol, have been hesitant to amend any Utah law that might increase consumption or affect underage drinking.

At least one national brewer said it would continue its 3.2 beer production.

"Anheuser-Busch is a proud member of the Utah beer community and has provided Utah beer drinkers with their choice of beer, regardless of the alcohol content, for decades," a company spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement. "Ultimately, our focus is on the customer and we are prepared to continue to provide Utah beer drinkers with the products they demand."

Utah's small craft brewers see the situation as an opportunity, said Matthew Allred, spokesman for Epic Brewing Co., in Salt Lake City. "If there's less of it from big beer, it's more opportunity for us to fill the void."

Allred said large national brewers use their buying power to create incentives for stores, often to the detriment of local craft brewers who must fight for prime space on the grocery store shelves.

The changes in Oklahoma and Colorado laws "won't have a big effect on us," he said. "In fact, because of the economies of scale, we can do the same thing and the consumers benefit with local products."

Officials with the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) have been watching both the policy changes in Colorado and Oklahoma, knowing it will have an affect on the state liquor sales.

"We have been aware, for some time now, that passage of this initiative could possibly result in breweries eliminating 3.2 beer altogether," DABC spokesman Terry Wood said in a statement.

"At this time, we are analyzing the impact of the vote."