The 2015 Utah's Freest Cities Ranking

Alcohol Licensing

Category: Free Enterprise

State law does not prescribe the particular licensing regulations on alcohol establishments. These are licensed like any other business at the city level. Most cities divide alcohol establishments into a few categories or classes based on the type of service they provide.

Class A is typically for the retail sale of beer for off-premise consumption. Class B is for restaurants that serve beer with food for on-premise consumption. Class C is for a tavern that sells beer for on-premise consumption without food. These are the three most common classes of licenses that cities grant to alcohol businesses and so we limited our analysis to these.

Data for this metric was obtained from city fee schedules for alcohol licenses. The Alcohol Licensing metric is an equal weighting of the individual z-scores for the cost of each type of license in each city. Thus, for each class of license, cities are evaluated in comparison to one another. Z-scores are inverted to reflect positive scores for lower fees and negative scores for higher fees.

For cities that completely prohibit a particular type of establishment and do not grant any licenses there is no fee listed. In theory, because licenses are completely restricted, the correct fee would be infinite. To account for this anomaly, we instead calculated the z-score as the inverse (negative) value of the average cost of a license in that class minus an additional standard deviation (1) as a penalty. Thus, for a city that prohibits all alcohol establishments, as Highland does, the total metric z-score would be as if the city's licensing fees were twice the average fee minus one full standard deviation.

To see a specific city's laws for this metric, click on its name in the right column, then find the row in the table below the Free Enterprise category.

City Scores

To learn about our scoring methodology, click here.

Rank City Score
1North Ogden1.954
2Woods Cross1.302
3Clearfield1.238
4Kaysville1.183
5Cedar Hills0.908
6Lehi0.896
7Heber City0.880
8Riverton0.819
8Tooele0.819
10Cedar City0.773
11Brigham City0.628
12Taylorsville0.482
13Centerville0.436
14Salt Lake City0.299
15West Haven0.298
16Herriman0.290
17North Salt Lake0.205
18American Fork0.145
18Cottonwood Heights0.145
18Eagle Mountain0.145
18Farmington0.145
18Logan0.145
18Midvale0.145
18Saratoga Springs0.145
18Spanish Fork0.145
26Ogden0.113
27South Ogden0.112
28West Jordan0.020
29Pleasant Grove-0.029
30Sandy-0.082
31Layton-0.116
32Bountiful-0.134
33Hurricane-0.193
33Payson-0.193
35Murray-0.331
36Roy-0.361
37Holladay-0.365
38Springville-0.377
39Clinton-0.477
40Lindon-0.530
41Syracuse-0.678
42Provo-0.750
43South Jordan-1.102
44Draper-1.152
45Washington-1.205
45West Valley City-1.205
47St. George-1.542
48Orem-2.001
49South Salt Lake-2.975
50Highland-3.169