Social Axe Throwing finds a workaround to Utah liquor laws that blocked them from serving beer

Posted at 3:50 PM, May 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-28 17:50:11-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Social Axe Throwing found a workaround to a liquor law that blocked the business from selling beer.

The axe-throwing business was rejected for a beer license at last month’s meeting of Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission. That was because Utah liquor laws were changing, allowing only a specific list of criteria to qualify for a recreational beer license. The law change left out Social Axe Throwing’s Ogden location and a Salt Lake City karaoke lounge hoping to sell beer.

On Tuesday, Social Axe Throwing’s Mark Floyd was back. He had installed pool tables at all of his locations, so under the new law they were a “billiard hall,” which was allowed.

“We are compliant as a pool hall or a billiards parlor,” he told the DABC commission.

The move prompted a lot of debate amongst DABC commissioners. Thomas Jacobson wanted to know how many pool tables and then said he believed Social Axe Throwing should advertise itself as a billiard hall.

Floyd told him they weren’t required to state that under the law. Even the DABC’s own attorney said they could not require Social Axe Throwing to change its signage.

“At some point, we have to be reasonable,” said Commissioner Jacqueline Orton.

She and Commissioner Amanda Smith pushed to grant the license, and they won on a 6-0 vote (Jacobson abstained).

Commission Chairman John Nielsen called on the Utah Legislature to change the law again to fix the problem. In an interview with FOX 13, Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, said it likely would come up in the 2020 legislative session.

“This is one of the issues that probably ought to be fixed,” he said.