The grocery-store sales debate marches onward.
A recap: Under Colorado law, grocery stores are not allowed to sell beverages exceeding 3.2 percent alcohol by volume. In practice, this means grocery stores sell the standard Coors, Bud, etc., all at 3.2 percent ABV, while liquor stores sell all the good beer.
Current law essentially gives liquor stores (along with bars and tasting rooms) a monopoly on selling full-strength beer. This has worked enormously to the advantage of liquor-store owners, who are understandably reluctant to lose their monopoly.
Brewers are siding aggressively with the liquor-store owners, fearing that they would lose access to customers if they had to compete in chain supermarkets.
Everybody expects a bill to resurface to allow grocery stores to sell full-strength beer. A bill died this legislative session that would have done that. A voter initiative is another real possibility that is thought to have strong chances.
Local brewers would probably feel a hit if the law was loosened, but liquor-store owners are the ones with a gun to their heads.
A group of liquor-store owners gathered recently at Ska Brewing in Durango to plan for the fight, reports Ted Holteen of The Durango Herald.
Soggy Coaster's speculative take: A law allowing grocery stores to sell full-strength beer looks likely to eventually pass. Some of the smaller, weaker liquor stores will close, leaving those with the largest selections alive. Durango breweries will have a tougher time distributing in Denver, but they will survive and continue to prosper.
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