Mar 23, 2011 11:31 PM by John Romero
Battle lines are being drawn in Colorado over House Bill 1284 which gives the right to sell full strength beers in convenience and grocery stores. As it stands, those stores can only sell beer that's 3.2% alcohol or lower.
Sean Duffy who represents both King Soopers and Safeway super markets, says Colorado's laws are out dated. "For years and years we've had these archaic patch work of beer laws that put consumers last and put liquor stores and their monopoly first." he explains, "We think it's time to let the consumers make decisions."
But local craft brewers say House Bill 1284 would be devastating on both their industry and local liquor stores because liquor stores would be forced out of business and the big chain stores don't have enough space for local brewers. "HB 1284 would put liquor stores out of business." explains Laura Long with Colorado Springs based Bristol Brewing Company, "Breweries of our size like the small and mid size breweries really depend on small, independent retailers for access to market."
The brewers say if the bill passes it could cost the state over 10,000 jobs. The grocery stores disagree. "Grocery stores are the largest employers that provide quality jobs with good benefits." says Duffy, "We think this is a great deal for the economy."
The grocers see big bucks on the horizon if the bill passes, but brewers say none of that will stay local. "The money that stays in Colorado now as liquor store owners profits and brewery profits will go to out of state corporations." says Long, "We want to keep that money here."