Craft Wins in CO Legislature

Colorado legislature defeats an attempt to let the state’s grocery stores and convenience stores sell full-strength beer

It was the furthest any bill to allow food stores to sell beer has made it in the Legislature in four years of trying, but House Bill 1284 still failed by a wide margin.

Currently, food stores can sell only low-alcohol beer. Store owners complained in 2008 when the Legislature allowed liquor stores to stay open on Sundays. The grocers said that before the Sunday sales law, they did much of their beer business on Sundays because customers had no other choice if they wanted beer.

The craft brewing industry, led by the Colorado Brewers Guild opposed the bill. If passed, it could have driven independent liquor stores out of business and take away access to the market for small breweries. Large supermarkets are notorious for being extremely difficult for craft brewers, especially small start-ups, to get authorization into chain-wide beer sets. The thriving independent retailer in Colorado is believed by many to have helped the craft brewers thrive in the state.

Another similar bill is still alive in the Senate. Senate Bill 194 would let convenience stores – but not grocery stores – sell beer. It could be heard on the Senate floor this week.

Comments

  1. banjolawyer says

    Craft brewers don’t want their product in grocery stores? Surely, they can compete without artificial legislative barriers in the market. I don’t understand the perspective.

  2. Bierkoenig says

    I agree. Seems awfully strange that you wouldn’t want to sell your beer in a grocery store. It sounds like the concern is that it’s hard to get into the stores, but how do they know if it hasn’t happened yet? Indeed, it seems that that’s the aim of this bill. I suppose it depends on the market, but a supermarket in most of Oregon is about 60% craft and import in the beer aisle. Perhaps some Colorado brewers can enlighten us.