Battle Over Full Strength Beer Sales Brewing Again

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - After similar measures failed three times, it might not be a coincidence that one state lawmaker chose St. Patrick's Day to introduce a bill -- hoping the luck of the Irish will be with him as he tries to get full strength beer into grocery stores and convenience stores.

Once again, a battle is brewing over brew.

"45 other states have this and it works very well for the consumers," said State Representative Larry Liston, (R) Colorado Springs.

"It seems like a bad economy to change any law that would hurt any kind of small business," said Monty Haltiner, Manager of Crossroads Wine & Spirits.

For decades, grocery and convenience stores have only been allowed to sell beer that is 3.2 percent alcohol by weight. Liquor stores can carry "full strength beer" with a higher alcohol content. Liston says that doesn't make sense.

"Liquor stores have a monopoly, I repeat, a monopoly," said Liston. "And most consumers would agree that monopolies are not a healthy thing."

For the second straight year, he's sponsoring a bill that would allow all stores to sell full strength beer -- giving shoppers the convenience, he says, of buying it wherever they want.

"We're not doing anything unique or different here than what's being done in virtually every state in the union," said Liston.

But liquor stores say the move is only convenient for big grocery corporations.

"There's only so many liquor sales that are going to happen in Colorado," said Haltiner. "And you're going to double the amount of outlets they're available in."

Haltiner says grocery and convenience stores make plenty on the other products they sell, not to mention the sheer number of liquor stores already makes things pretty convenient for shoppers.

"Quit wasting our legislators time on this over and over again," said Haltiner. "It's going to hurt somebody, I guarantee it. And somebody is going to go out of business and people are going to lose their jobs."

Liston says that's not the intent of his bill and he's not convinced liquor stores will lose business. Still he knows this has been a tough issue to crack -- and is trying to remain optimistic things will be different this time around.

"The consumers are much more aware and involved this time than they've ever been before," said Liston.

Colorado law currently allows grocery stores to get one license for one store in the state where they can sell full strength beer. A spokesperson for King Soopers / City Market says that particular store near Denver has four liquor stores within a one mile radius and none of them have gone out of business.

The bill could be taken up by a House committee as early as next week.

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by joe Location: nw colorado on Mar 19, 2011 at 10:34 AM
    I agree with Nun, apparently, the liquor stores want some kind of subsidy and have forgotten the capitalistic model of supply and demand. At least we don't have state run liquor stores like in UTARD.
    • reply
      by Nun on Mar 20, 2011 at 03:06 PM in reply to joe
      Don't give them any ideas.
  • by janice Location: oakpark on Mar 18, 2011 at 11:31 PM
    I just wanted to THANK YOU so much for find 3.17% Rate. You were great! The closing went really smoothly on my Mortgage Refinance. As in the past, I'll continue to tell everyone about "Mortgage Refinance 123" knowledge is power know your rate before you do refi
  • by Nun Location: Grand Junction on Mar 17, 2011 at 10:23 PM
    Seems to me the only people speaking up against this are the liquor store owners who are attempting to protect their monopoly. All spirits should be avaliable in convenience and grocery stores. Why should I, the consumer have to make an extra stop on my way home to pick up a bottle of wine for dinner.
KKCO NBC 11 News
2531 Blichmann Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81505

Station Phone: 970.243.1111
Business Fax: 970.243.1770
Newsroom Fax: 970.245.3793
News Tip & Contest Line: 970.255.8477
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 118218014 -
Gray Television, Inc.