Restaurateurs all over the state will be raising a glass at 3 pm. today, when Governor John Hickenlooper officially signs Senate Bill 60 into law...at the Old Chicago at 145 Union Boulevard in Lakewood. But then, the setting makes sense, since this is the measure that will allow bars and restaurants in Colorado to serve any beer, no matter how light.
In the arcane, post-Prohibition era rules that still dominate our liquor laws, 3.2 beer became the province of grocery and convenience stores, while stronger beer could only be sold at liquor stores. Despite many attempts to change those rules over the years -- including several this legislative session alone, the 3.2 division remains.
And oddly, restaurants and bars were thrown in with liquor stores, technically only allowed to serve beer that tested higher than 3.2 percent alcohol. How crazy was that? Restaurateurs were banned from serving lower-alcohol bill to their customers?
If there was one beer bill that needed to pass this year, Betty Boyd's Senate Bill 60, which would undo that restriction, was it. And pass it did late last week, a success that will be celebrated today at the Old Chicago in her district.
This is the first bill that Hickenlooper, a former restaurateur who recognized just how silly this restriction was, will sign in a bar -- but "probably not the last," admits spokesman Eric Brown.
And this won't be the last fun activity at an Old Chicago, either. On Monday, Jonathan Shikes, Colorado Beer Man and Westword managing editor, will be at the Old Chicago in LoDo, for the unveiling of his Big Shikes Orange Blossom Imperial Pilsner by Ska Brewing.
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