On a typical day at the Hyde Park Maverick gas station, drivers are able to fuel up as other customers head for a fountain drink or a snack—but they can't buy beer. Why not? Well, that's a question Maverick is asking Hyde Park officials.
The Hyde Park Maverick, like most gas stations, would like to sell beer. The problem is, there's currently no city ordinance under which Maverick can be granted a license—meaning Maverick can't sell beer.
But that might soon change. A new alcohol ordinance has been proposed and is currently in the draft stages. Maverick is the lone licensee.
Hyde Park Mayor Bryan Cox worries that his small Cache Valley community will fall behind other cities that allow alcohol sales.
"If you talk long-term business—five, ten, fifteen, or twenty years down the road—a lot of people say, 'Gosh, we need a target.' Well, there's no business like that or no Lee's [supermarket] or any other business that's gonna come in to Hyde Park without having the ability to sell [beer]."
So far, Cox hasn't heard too much pushback on the issue.
"A lot of people have said that it has no impact on them. There have been several that are pro-business that say, 'Actually, the city could use the revenue.' And there's also some that say they didn't even realize that [Maverick] didn't sell it."
Just a few miles south of Hyde Park, the city of Nibley went through a nearly identical scenario. Four or five years ago, according to Nibley Mayor Gerald Knight, Maverick built a new store in Nibley. When the issue of beer sales came up, well, it was basically a non-issue.
"We didn't really honestly get that much pushback or, to be even more frank, that many comments."
Even the oft-controversial topic of Sunday beer sales failed to ruffle any feathers.
"They came back and pointed out that we didn't have any exception for selling on Sunday, which was a little different than most other communities in the valley, and when they pointed that out we went, 'Oh. Yeah. Hm,' and kind of shrugged our shoulders and brought it to the council as though it might be an issue, and it wasn't. And they moved forward."
Still, Knight is reluctant to endorse alcohol sales in Hyde Park.
"Well, I think that's up to their council who represents their residents and they have that autonomy. It's totally within their right to make that decision, and I don't want to weigh in one way or another."
In fact, not everyone is comfortable with the proposed alcohol ordinance. Mark Hurd is on the Hyde Park City Council, and he is opposed to the ordinance.
In an email statement, Hurd said, "I’d like to see Hyde Park shape its future on the already proven foundation of values being held in higher standing than more money."
But at least one Hyde Park resident wouldn't mind a more convenient location to buy beer. Resident Casey Richardson says if people can't find beer in Hyde Park, they'll probably just get it somewhere else.
"It's just 3.2 beer so it doesn't really matter anyway. I mean, liquor laws in Utah are kinda ridiculous anyway. People drive to Preston or to anywhere in Idaho whenever they wanna get actual beer. So I mean, they're gonna get it either way. Might as well have it down the street, up the street, around town."
A public hearing will be held on October 10th in Hyde Park to discuss the alcohol ordinance. After that, beer—albeit 3.2% beer—could be on its way to another Utah community.