AN ALCOHOL ARMISTICE?

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Indiana’s “alcohol wars” might be coming to an end, or at least one battle.

The lobby groups that represent the state’s package liquor stores and grocery stores have reached an agreement that would allow for Sunday sales, but limit where you could buy cold beer.

In a news release put out this afternoon,  Representatives from the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers (IABR) and the Indiana Retail Council (IRC) say they will support legislation that allows for Sunday sales, but limits cold beer sales to liquor stores.

In addition, the groups agreed that there should be no new restrictions placed on where alcohol is sold, increasing penalties when alcohol is sold minors and mandatory ID checking.

“This agreement proves that we can work together to deliver results for Hoosiers without compromising on safety,” said Jon Sinder, Chairman of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers.  “The package liquor store industry along with our friends at the Indiana Retail Council are committed to working directly with legislators to successfully draft and pass meaningful and impactful public policy that will allow Hoosiers to purchase alcohol for carryout on Sundays for the first time since Prohibition.”   

Indy Politics spoke with Grant Monahan of the Indiana Retail Council.  You can hear his comments in the Leon-Tailored Audio above.  They run about eight minutes.

The “agreement” did not sit well with gas station and convenience stores, Scot Imus of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association. released the following statement…

“For well over a decade, the liquor store industry has vehemently opposed Sunday sales, testifying numerous times before legislative committees that such a move would put 25 percent of liquor stores out of business. Further, the liquor lobby decried the display of spirits in big box stores, even supplying committee members with pictures of liquor bottles next to toys or at the checkout lane to support its position.   At the same time, the Indiana Retail Council and its members joined forces with convenience store retailers in forming two coalitions over the last decade to campaign for sensible alcohol laws – which included cold beer and Sunday sales. Why are they now suddenly against cold beer sales? How credible can these groups be when just six months ago each made opposite claims? Frankly, type of backroom gamesmanship and hypocrisy is exactly what the public despises and what has led to Indiana’s non-sensical alcohol laws. Alcohol regulations should be based on sound public policy, not upon the wishes of powerful special interests suddenly aligned for the sake of expediency. The convenience store industry has demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that its members are responsible retailers of beer. The IPCA and over 60 percent of Hoosiers believe that Indiana should not regulate beer sales based on temperature.   We call on lawmakers and Hoosiers to see this agreement as nothing more than liquor stores and big box stores protecting their turf. Instead, we would ask legislators to support the common-sense reform of moving beer from store floors to coolers.”

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