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Plan to raise alcohol limits in beer at Utah stores approved

Walmart asking customers to weigh in on wether they want to get rid of 3.2 beer, pictured Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in favor of heavy beer as beer manufacturers consider phasing it out. (Steve Breinholt, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A proposal to raise low alcohol limits for beer sold at Utah grocery stores has cleared its first hurdle.

The unanimous committee vote on Thursday came despite opposition from substance-abuse counselors and people worried about children getting higher-alcohol beer.

Many local craft brewers are also against it, saying it would require them to modify their products while allowing larger breweries to keep store shelf space.

The proposal would increase the alcohol limit from 3.2 percent to 4.8 percent by weight.

A number of other states have shed similar limitations in recent years, spurring some large brewers to stop making lower-alcohol products for a diminished market of two states: Utah and Minnesota.

Grocers and convenience-store owners are in favor of the proposal that will help them keep their shelves stocked. It now goes to the Senate floor.

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