Starbucks granted rare Utah liquor license

Starbucks scores rare Utah liquor license
Starbucks scores rare Utah liquor license   

Starbucks just set a key legal precedent for alcohol ... in Utah.

A liquor license that the coffee giant applied for in November was finally granted on Tuesday after months of deliberations by the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The restaurant is the first company to apply for a master license — a license that would cover five Utah locations — since the master license legislature was enacted in Utah in 2014, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Utah is a notoriously difficult state to obtain a liquor license because it distributes alcohol permits based on a population quota. The state's alcohol board decided to delay its ruling in 2015 and met with lawmakers, as its decision would set a precedent for future license approvals.

Starbucks will only be able to serve wine and beer in the five Utah stores, and at least 70 percent of all sales must be food or non-alcoholic drinks, a state spokeswoman told CNBC.

The coffee giant's procurement of the license is part of an expansion of its Evenings menu, a program that sells small plates of food with wine and beer, which it already offers in about 250 stores across the country.

"Just as each customer is unique, so are our stores and we consider a broad range of products and experiences for each neighborhood," a Starbucks spokeswoman told CNBC. "And, as you've seen, we're in the very early stages of bringing our Evenings menu to Utah. It's a long and thoughtful process, and the permit filing is just one of many steps we take."

Correction: An earlier version misstated the number of Starbucks that serve the Evenings menu and incorrectly referred to Starbucks restaurants as franchises.