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Snowbird's Oktoberfest Alcohol Permit Again Under Fire

Photo of Snowbird Oktoberfest mugs.
Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort

The dispute continues over Snowbird’s event permit for serving beer, wine and cocktails at Oktoberfest. One lawyer is hoping the resort will be barred from serving alcohol.

At the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissions’ meeting this week, attorney Jim McConkie said the alcohol consumption that occurs during Snowbird’s festival is a public safety issue. McConkie is representing a family that is suing Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort after they say they were assaulted by drunk festivalgoers in 2014. McConkie said at the meeting that the resort doesn’t limit how much customers can drink and says it should conduct sobriety checks as patrons leave. He also asked the DABC commission to restrict or refuse Snowbird’s event permit for serving alcohol.

“I think at a minimum they ought to support the idea of putting a sobriety checkpoint, a roadblock, up there so that when people leave the resort, there’s a check to ensure that they’re not driving and drunk,” McConkie says.

Brian Brown is the Communications Manager at Snowbird. He says the types of incidents McConkie described to the commission are rare. He says safety is one of the resort’s top priorities, and it partners with law enforcement during the festival to keep patrons safe and abiding by consumption laws.

“I think really our track record speaks for itself,” says Brown. “Forty-four years with zero DABC violations shows our commitment to making this event safe.  It shows that we certainly play by the rules.”

But Vickie Ashby, public information officer with the Utah DABC, says the commission can’t actually do anything about the permit.

“There wasn’t an application from Snowbird. So they couldn’t take action on an application or on a license,” she says.

Snowbird has to reapply for the event permit each year. The DABC commission will decide what action to take when it reviews Snowbird’s application, which isn’t due until mid-July.

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