The cops didn’t do this on their own; they were asked to look into this:
Utah Highway Patrol officers issued the citation against Brewvies in early September after a complaint was filed with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Yes, the violation is an exploitation of a law intended for another purpose:
The law is generally used to regulate strip clubs, which aren't permitted to have nude dancers — g-strings and pasties are required to be worn — if they serve liquor. The law is applied only to businesses with liquor licenses, so it wouldn't apply to alcohol-free theaters.
I wonder if this got called in by the owners of other movie theaters or restaurants: it is legal, and quite common in Utah, for restaurants that serve liquor to offer dinner packages that include movie tickets.
The fine issued by the state liquor board Thursday is the first for Brewvies, which only allows people 21 years and older to attend their movies and serves food and liquor to patrons. But under state law, many PG-13 and R-rated movies could net the theater a fine because of prohibitions on showing a film with sex acts, full-frontal nudity or even the "caressing" of breasts or buttocks.
I haven’t seen most of these movies, but under the law Brewvies could be fined for showing some of them.