Indiana Retailers Seek Revamp of Beer, Spirits, Soft Drinks Laws

The Indiana state legislature is studying some of the interesting quirks of the state’s beverage laws by establishing an Interim Study Committee on Alcoholic Beverage Issues.

Some of these issues include:

-- Indiana is the only state that allows grocers to sell beer, but prohibits them from selling it cold
-- Indiana is also the only state that prohibits liquor stores from selling cold soft drinks
-- On Sundays in Indiana, alcohol beverages can be purchased by the drink at a restaurant, but not in a grocery store

The state legislature is now completing a two-year study that will be ready before the 2010 legislative session meets. In the meantime, lawmakers placed a moratorium on all alcohol bills during the last regular and special sessions.

Campaigning for a contemporary approach to the state’s alcohol laws is Joe Lackey, president of the Indiana Retail Grocers Association (IRGA), who pointed out that permitting grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores to sell cold beer as liquor stores do would allow for more equitable competition in the marketplace. And letting all of them sell alcohol beverages on Sundays would bring added revenue to the state, since Indiana shoppers wouldn’t have to go out of state to make their purchases.

However, Lackey emphasized, the proposal that convenience stores and groceries may be allowed to sell cold beer and sell alcoholic beverages on Sundays if they do so in separate rooms with licensed clerks isn’t acceptable.

Joining Indianapolis-based IRGA in its campaign to update Indiana’s beverage laws is the Indiana Retail Council and a coalition called Hoosiers For Beverage Choices.

As to the law prohibiting liquor stores from selling cold soft drinks: Most liquor stores in Indiana have front porches. But instead of rocking chairs, they sport soft-drink vending machines.

- Nielsen Business Media
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