Utah's a great state at some levels, but for various reasons (quite a few of them religious) it's got a history of being unfriendly to the noble products of microbial fermentation (i.e. alcohol).
The first time I went to Utah (as far as I remember), I was about 7 or 8 years old, on a family holiday. We visited a bunch of national parks with fantastic canyons, eroded rock formations and probably some dinosaurs (or was that Colorado?). I didn't notice the alcohol-related issues at the time (well duh).
The last time I went to Utah (unless I've had some mental absences quite a bit more substantial than the ones I'm aware of) was with my father a couple of years ago, on a road-trip-and-horse-riding holiday. The holiday itself was pretty awesome (horsies! campfires! funky geology!), but our return route took us through Salt Lake City, which was weird in a not-so-nice way. The approach to the city was miles upon miles of depressing strip malls and fast-food franchises; then the city center, with its bizarre Mormon church that looks like fancy bank headquarters in a park populated by UFO-like statues and over-friendly proselytizers... And nearly nowhere to eat or drink after 8 pm.
When I say drink of course I mean alcohol. Hey, I'm not asking for much; a bit of beer or wine with a meal, y'know, makes a change from iced water and Coca-Cola... But even outside of SLC, there were places where it was hard to get a decent drink with dinner. One evening we ended up at a tex-mex place where they flat out didn't serve alcohol at all.
Turns out that the war on alcohol does not reside only in the moral certitude of restaurant-owners, but also in the state laws. The good news is, Utah's legislators have just decided to relax drinking laws, notably the one that required would-be boozers to "fill in a form and pay a fee" in order to enter a bar. I mean, come on, I do believe encouraging moderation is a good thing, but forms and fees? Talk about buzzkill. Plus, hello civil liberties!
Not that civil liberties were really the focus of the move -- apparently, it was more about attracting those hordes of tourists who might otherwise be turned off by the booze-unfriendly policies. But hey, sometimes, results do not care for causes.
So, here's to Utah... cheers!