Industries related to alcohol have been slow to grow in Salt Lake due to restrictive liquor laws, that have primarily been influenced by the Mormon church. However, as the laws have been relaxed, high end restaurants, a bar scene, and companies producing alcohol locally have begun to show up all around the city. Slowly but surely, the alcohol production industry is growing in Salt Lake and surrounding areas. Both micro-breweries and distilleries have had a large measure of success. A great example is Squatters Brew Pub, which produces beer that is sold not only at home in Salt Lake but, in other large regions of the the country. “We’re really popular in Texas.” Brewmaster Jason Stock told The Daily Meal. High West Distillery, who not only make quality whisky but also have a terrific restaurant, has also been well received. Both beer and sprits are definitely managing to gain a solid foothold in Salt Lake but, what about wine? Is Salt Lake ready to support a local winery as well?
A winery in Utah faces different completely different challenges then a brewery. Certainly both types of businesses are subject to Utah’s more conservative liquor laws. However, when the success of breweries and distilleries that have been opened in Salt Lake is taken in to account, it’s clear the liquor laws have relaxed enough to allow alcohol production businesses to flourish.
For wine the issue may be more a matter of logistics. Beer is generally produced in a much shorter time frame, and with less physical labor, then wine. This means it’s much easier to produce large quantities of a product and keep up with purchasing demand. Perhaps most significantly of all, ingredients for beer can be grown in a greater variety of climates then wine grapes. In fact many wine experts would argue that the climate of Utah is not at all suitable for wine grapes. Perhaps it’s less of a question of is Salt Lake ready to support an urban winery, as is there a winery that can account for Utah’s climate in a way that will be successful.
In the interest of full disclosure: this trip was fully paid for by Visit Salt Lake. However, any opinions expressed here are my own.