Chug, chug, chug: Larry Liston's beer bill goes down quick
Larry Liston at the introduction of the bill at King Soopers.
Many of the people who work in Colorado's craft beer industry believe that brewer-in-chief Governor John Hickenlooper would never sign a bill allowing grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer -- even if the legislature passed it.
Now they won't have to worry about it -- at least not this year.
On Monday, the state House of Representatives killed HB 1284, which had been introduced by Representative Larry Liston, a measure that would have allowed the chain's stores to sell full-strength beer at all of its locations rather than just one.
It was the fourth such bill to be introduced in the past four years and the first to make it out of a committee hearing and onto the house floor. The vote was a solid 18-47.
Those in favor of the bill said it would have made shopping more convenient for consumers and erased the convoluted system of regulations that separates beers that are 3.2 percent alcohol by weight (or 4.0 by volume) from stronger suds. Groceries and convenience stores are only allowed to sell 3.2 beer. Proponents also said the measure would have leveled the competitive playing field and created union jobs.
Opponents, however, believe the idea would have put hundreds of liquor stores out of business and killed thousands of jobs. Craft brewers said the loss of those liquor stores would have made it very difficult for them to continue enjoying the sales and success they have been enjoying over the past couple of years.
In the meantime, a bill that would allow only smaller convenience stores to sell full-strength beer is still alive in the Senate.
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