(KCPW News) A new law that bans discounted drink specials at bars and taverns is set to take effect July 1st. While “happy hours” are already banned in Utah, many businesses offer discounts on certain drinks at specific times. Michael Garcia, Assistant Manager at Murphy’s, says they’re going to have to re-work a lot of numbers, and it’s not going to be easy. Murphy’s had a monthly beer special that encouraged customers to come in. And now, Garcia isn’t sure they can sustain a permanent price reduction, or going back to full price.
“We work in an industry that we’re not allowed to regulate in any way. Somebody else regulates every aspect of our world,” says Garcia. “We effectively are a secondhand employee of the state because they have all of our rules but yet we get no benefit out of that. We don’t get insurance. We don’t get anything.”
James Haskel, a bartender at Junior’s, says the law probably won’t hurt them financially, because they’ll maintain the specialty price of some of their drinks and in certain cases change the ratio of alcohol in mixed drinks slightly to make up for the lower cost. But he expects it will change the crowd that comes in.
“I think it’s going to change kind of the community that is built up at any bar over the specials. You’ll have a crowd that comes in to get the special on one day and you have your regulars set. I think that will go away,” says Haskel. “So this might be a little bit harder to plan for your beer orders because you know on your special day you order a little bit more.”
Republican Senator John Valentine has said this law is a part of an overall goal to reduce alcohol consumption. But Haskel doesn’t expect it to change many drinking habits.
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