As midnight ticked off the clock last Wednesday, that sense of dread that overcomes me each year at this time, struck once again.
The legislature, had finished off their annual regular session, and I knew there certainly had to be some new rule on the books that would once again take away some right or other that I had enjoyed in the past. This year proved to be no different.
Last August I wrote a column describing my disgust with the way beer had to be sold at the Helper Art Festival. State regulations made it so that to buy a beer at the festival, I, a 52 year old American male, had to not only show identification that proved I was over 21, but that I also had to be tagged with a wrist band, and be segregated to a certain area in order to drink the weakest brew made in the United States.
At the time I didn't think it could get much worse than that, other than making Utah into a downright dry state. Well the boys and girls on the hill worked long and hard to surprise me and they have succeeded.
It has now come to pass that I and another friend can no longer go to a pizza parlor and order a pitcher of beer between us. As of sometime this year (I haven't seen a date for the "pitcher ban" to go into affect yet) we must order our beer separately, by the bottle, can or mug.
This new law reminds me of when this state used to sell mini bottles to supply drinkers with booze for their cocktails. Never mind that liquor by the drink beverages almost always had weaker alcohol content than a mini-bottle drink. The official line was that separate bottles would keep consumption down, but all of us who drank really knew what the real truth behind it was: The belief that the harder you make it for someone to do something you don't want them to do the more likely they will not do it.
My experience is that when a pitcher of beer comes to a table no one drinks more than they would if they were ordering individual beers. Of course I have never done a scientific study on the subject, not exactly being in the frame of mind to do that when I am sitting at a table enjoying myself. But I am sure that the proponents of the bill know all about this since they have so much knowledge about the subject. Certainly, anyone who wants to drink more will, just by getting another container placed before them. That's the reality of drinking. But then reality isn't what many of our legislators deal with anyway. They seem to live in a world that exists somewhere on the boundary of the Twilight Zone.
I have made a decision though. As the beer laws continue to digress in this pretty great state, I may just have to change my drink of choice.
As George Bernard Shaw once wrote in a play called Candida in 1898, "I'm only a beer teetotaler, not a champagne teetotaler."
What the heck, I've always liked the pink bubbly stuff anyway.