A pair of coveted club liquor licenses were handed out Tuesday at the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control liquor commission meeting and a report showed that Utahns sipped, gulped and chugged $3.1 million more in alcoholic beverages in the first two months of this fiscal year than in 2013.
But this news was overshadowed by the presence of former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who appeared on behalf of his new company, Now Neutraceuticals, which is hoping to produce a line of inhaling devices that can dispense such drugs as caffeine, nicotine, sleep aids and appetite inhibitors.
Shurtleff owns the business with his brother, Kevin Shurtleff.
The business has nothing to do with liquor, but rather the storage and use of large drums of high-proof alcohol that, Kevin Shurtleff says, would be used as a solvent to produce the various inhalable substances he hopes to soon create.
“It works very quickly,” Kevin Shurtleff says of inhaling substances as opposed to ingesting them.
The liquor board granted the Shurtleff brothers’ request for a special use permit for industrial manufacturing.
In addition to embarking on new business ventures, Mark Shurtleff, who served 12 years as attorney general, is facing 10 felonies stemming from his political career in Utah. The charges include receiving or soliciting bribes and tampering with witnesses and evidence.
His former deputy and hand-picked successor as the state’s top prosecutor, John Swallow, was charged with 11 felonies and two misdemeanors. If convicted, the two men could face 15 years in prison. The two men have maintained their innocence.
Other liquor commission news included the dispensing of two club liquor licenses. Both went to longtime local brewers looking to expand their reach.
The first was given to Red Rock Brewing Company for its Red Rock Junction pub, which is located at Kimball Junction in Park City. The second was granted to Park City brewer Wasatch Brewing, which recently opened a pub in Sugar House. The two establishments have been operating on seasonal liquor licenses.
Meanwhile, Utahns continue to drink alcohol at a rate that would make any bean-counting accountant blush.
In July and August, the first two months of the current fiscal year, Utahns consumed 5.2 percent more alcohol than in the first two months of the 2013 fiscal year. This amounts to 17,456 more cases of booze than in 2013, and $3.1 million more in retail sales.
“That’s just our norm,” says Vicki Ashby, a UDABC spokeswoman. “Growth is pretty normal.”