Many Colorado shoppers and retailers are toasting proposed legislation permitting the sale of wine and similar fermented beverages in grocery stores. Residents can vote up or down on Proposition 125, which is on the ballot for the Nov. 8 election.
The measure would allow grocers and c-stores that are currently licensed to sell beer – okayed by the legislature for retail sale in 2016 – to also purvey wine, cider, mead and sake after March 1, 2023. According to the proposed legislation, retailers can also offer tastings if approved by the local licensing authorities.
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There are some limits to Prop 125. For example, a grocery or c-store would not be licensed to sell wine and fermented malt beverages if it is located within 500 feet of a retail liquor store or licensed wine retailer.
Another piece of legislation is in front of voters, too. Coloradans have a chance to vote for or against Proposition 126, which would allow for alcohol product delivery by third-party services and grocers.
According to local media reports, the measures have the support of major grocery businesses. The Wine in Grocery Stores issues committee, which has raised more than $11.2 million, has been backed to various degrees by retailers including Albertsons Cos., The Kroger Co. and Target Corp., and delivery platforms Instacart and DoorDash, among others.
“Coloradans want convenience. They want choice. They want Starbucks, a deli, a COVID booster shot, organic produce and a specialty cheese section at the grocery store, along with beer and wine,” committee representative Sheila MacDonald told Colorado Public Radio this summer.
Meanwhile, several independent liquor stores in the state have voiced their opposition to the proposed legislation, citing competitive concerns. “Every small liquor store depends on wine sales to keep their lights on,” declared Loren Touch of Gunbarrel Liquors in Gunbarrel, Colo., in a recent article published by Colorado Politics.