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After Lawsuit, Cold Beer Sales Chances Slim In Legislature

After a federal judge ruled against allowing convenience stores to sell cold beer, groups pushing for change might have to head back to the legislature.

Miller Beer

Photo: Gretchen Frazee

Under current state law, convenience stores are allowed to sell cold wine but not cold beer.

Groups pushing Indiana to allow cold beer sales in convenience stores likely face a tough road in the state legislature.

A federal judge this week ruled against convenience store owners in their lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on cold beer sales by non-liquor stores.

In a statement, Attorney General Greg Zoeller noted that the proper place for debating the issue is the legislature.

Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, is the chair of the House Public Policy Committee, which typically hears alcohol regulation bills.  Dermody says he plans to take time this summer to meet with groups on both sides of the issue but he’s noncommittal.

“It would not very smart to say, ‘Hey, today on June 16, June 17, we’re going to start and commit to looking at these issues or trying to pass a bill in the next session,” Dermody says.

Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, who chairs the Senate Public Policy Committee, says changing Indiana’s policy on cold beer sales would be a major shift that he doesn’t think the legislature is willing to make.  But he says that isn’t the case for all alcohol issues.

“I don’t think it’s a huge policy change to evaluate and look at Sunday sales in supermarkets, which is a big day, something of that nature,” Alting says. “But I think the expansion of cold beers is enormous.”

Alting says he could foresee the legislature allowing Sunday alcohol sales sometime in the future but that it won’t necessarily happen next session.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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