Will the House see the light on SB 60?

One last beer bill is still alive at the legislature -- and it could be good news for bars and restaurants, not to mention their customers. Although earlier this week Senator Betty Boyd essentially killed her bill that would have allowed convenience stores to sell any beer, not just 3.2, she's also the sponsor of SB 60, which would let restaurants and bars sell any beer.

That measure passed through the Senate on a third reading yesterday; it now moves to the House.

"We're hopeful of a fair hearing just on this bill's merits," says Pete Meersman, head of the Colorado Restaurant Association, which stayed neutral on all the other beer bills introduced this year, and also kept quiet during the brewhaha when Governor John Hickenlooper cut through some of the red tape created by a law passed last year that was supposed to strengthen the existing ban that prohibits liquor stores and restaurants from selling 3.2 beer, such as the lighter-than-light Budweiser Select, but wound up requiring costly tests from brewers to verify the alcohol content of their beers.

SB 60 doesn't deal with that requirement, and it also wouldn't affect what beer liquor stores can sell. Instead, it would simply allow restaurants and bars to see any beer, including low-alcohol brews, exempting them from those archaic, post-Prohibition rules.

About time: Restaurants and bars have sustained enough collateral damage in the beer battle between liquor stores and convenience/grocery stores. It's nonsensical for this state to prohibit restaurateurs from selling their patrons beer that has less alcohol.

Here's hoping the House sees the light.

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