Liquor & Grocery Stores Team Up Against C-stores in Indiana Alcohol Reform Debate
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers and the Indiana Retail Council have reached an agreement that could cut convenience stores out of expanded alcohol sales in the future.
Both associations will support the addition of Sunday alcohol sales, provided that liquor stores will remain the only outlets legally able to sell cold beer seven days a week, reported RTV6.
Current Indiana law allows alcohol sales between 7 a.m. and 3 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Bills that would have legalized Sunday alcohol sales were introduced in the past three legislative sessions but failed, as did efforts to add cold beer sales outside of liquor stores, in part due to heavy lobbying from liquor stores and distributors.
"This agreement proves that we can work together to deliver results for Hoosiers without compromising on safety," said Jon Sinder, chairman of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers. "The package liquor store industry along with our friends at the Indiana Retail Council are committed to working directly with legislators to successfully draft and pass meaningful and impactful public policy that will allow Hoosiers to purchase alcohol for carryout on Sundays for the first time since Prohibition."
"We are pleased to announce this agreement that strengthens the regulations as to how alcohol is sold in Indiana while also giving Hoosiers greater shopping convenience," added Grant Monahan, president of the Indiana Retail Council. "We look forward to working with the package liquor stores and members of the Indiana General Assembly to put Hoosiers first with common-sense reforms."
According to their policy recommendations, the two groups believe that alcohol sales should be strictly regulated and that existing cold beer regulations serve as important safety measures.
However, Indiana convenience retailers have rejected the claims of a fair compromise, calling the agreement an effort to avoid competition from the c-store market.
"How credible can these groups be when just six months ago each made opposite claims?" said Scott Imus, executive director of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (IPCA). "Frankly, this type of backroom gamesmanship and hypocrisy is exactly what the public despises and what has led to Indiana's nonsensical alcohol laws."
During the summer of 2017, a commission created by state Senate leader David Long and House Speaker Brian Bosma began studying the state's alcohol laws after Ricker's convenience stores added restaurant space to one of its locations, allowing it to also sell cold beer. Lawmakers then passed a bill that will restrict Ricker's liquor license from being renewed, but the IPCA moved forward with the "Chill Indiana" advocacy campaign and a public poll that found more than 71 percent of Indiana citizens support allowing all licensed retailers to sell cold beer and 65 percent support Sunday carryout sales of alcohol, as CSNews Online previously reported.
Indiana is the only state that distinguishes between warm and cold beer sales when it issues sales licenses.