Federal Judge Upholds Indiana Law On Cold Beer Sales

A federal judge in Indianapolis has thrown out a lawsuit challenging the state's laws that limit cold beer sales to liquor stores.

Currently, only package liquor stores are allowed to sell

Photo: Phil Dragash (flickr)

Currently, only package liquor stores are allowed to sell "chilled" beer.

A federal judge in Indianapolis has upheld a state law that regulates beer by temperature.

A group of convenience stores had filed a lawsuit seeking the sale of cold beer by all Indiana retail outlets that hold a beer dealer permit.

Currently, only package liquor stores are allowed to sell “chilled” beer, other stores must sell it at room temperature. The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association filed the lawsuit May 2013.

The group claimed Indiana‘s alcohol law violates the equal protection of the U.S. Constitution by favoring one class of retailer of another.

“Our members and Hoosiers are disappointed that the court did not rule to end an irrational, discriminatory and outdated law,” IPCA Executive Director Scot Imus said in a statement. “There is wide-support to modernize Indiana’s alcohol laws, and we will continue to fight for fairness in the marketplace.”

The judge’s ruling also rejected claims by the convenience store group that the law is “arcane,” saying the legislature has drawn a line on what it will allow and has made a case for it, so it is not for the judge to act as a super-legislature and overturn it.

In a statement, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoller praised the judge’s decision.

“The statute we successfully defended reflects the current decision of the people’s elected representatives in the Legislature. The subject has been debated for many years but the appropriate forum for those who disagree with the state law to advocate for policy changes is in the state Legislature not the courts,” Zoeller said.

Network Indiana contributed to this report.

Kat Carlton

Kat Carlton is the Morning Edition newscaster and reporter for WFIU/WTIU news. She plans to finish her masters in journalism from Indiana University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in journalism and political science. You can follow her on Twitter @katcarlt.

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