Utah stores saying goodbye to some hard seltzers
Many popular hard seltzer flavors are now being phased out of Utah grocery stores under revised liquor laws that took effect in June.
What's happening: About half of the hard seltzers sold in Utah will no longer be allowed at grocery and convenience stores because their flavoring contains trace amounts of alcohol.
- The newly restricted drinks include all four available flavors of the popular Truly seltzers, all 13 Vizzy flavors and several flavors of Bon & Viv, Coors, Bud Light and Leinenkugel's seltzers.
- Grocers will have until the fall to sell their existing inventories, state alcohol regulators said in May.
Details: Hard seltzers were filling up — and flying off — grocers' shelves before regulators noted last year that state law had not yet been updated to address them.
- Alcohol drinks that are allowed in grocery stores are classified as "beer" under state law.
- When legislators rewrote the definition of "beer" to include hard seltzers, they used federal wording that excludes drinks with alcohol in the flavoring; ethyl alcohol is a common flavoring additive used in the popular drinks and other foods.
The restricted seltzers won't automatically be moved to Utah's 41 state-run stores, Michelle Schmitt, spokesperson for the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services, told Axios.
- Suppliers must apply separately to the DABS to be selected for the state-run stores' inventory — a constantly shifting list that is occasionally purged by regulators.
What's next: State regulators are still conferring with manufacturers to learn for certain which seltzers use ethyl alcohol. Many use glycol-based flavoring, which is not subject to new restrictions.
- An updated list of restricted drinks is expected in the coming weeks, Schmitt said.
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