House passes bill to sell alcohol at Indiana State Fair

Bill heads to Pence for signature

INDIANAPOLIS - A bill that would bring alcohol sales back to the Indiana State Fair passed the full House on Tuesday afternoon.

If Gov. Mike Pence signs the measure, state fair officials said they are ready to sell beer and wine at this summer’s fair for the first time in six decades.

With 82 breweries and more than 80 wineries and vineyards now in the Hoosier state, supporters say beer and wine are part of Indiana's agriculture.

"It's about showcasing the great things that come from Indiana. It's about the fact that Indiana has a lot of great breweries, great wineries. Of our breweries and wineries, many of us have been awarded national and international awards for the products that we make," owner of Sun King Brewing Co. Clay Robinson said.

Robinson, also the president of the Brewers of Indiana Guild, said Indiana breweries have boomed in just the past five years.

"I think it's an excellent opportunity for us to showcase our brews. Not just Fountain Square Brewery of course, but all of the artisan breweries in Indiana," Bill Webster with Fountain Square Brewing Co. said.

Opponents are concerned the sale of spirits could tarnish the fair's family friendly image.

Fair officials said local beer and wine will only be sold in one designated area. There will be security and only those 21 and older will be allowed inside.

Those who love to drink local see an opportunity to introduce Indiana products to thousands who may not know about the products otherwise.

"There are a lot of really great craft beers being made locally, a lot of times with local hops and local malts. So, yes, supporting local businesses, it's great," Taylor Brown said.

"It's really an up-and-coming thing that really puts Indiana on the map. I've traveled all over, been a lot of places and Indiana has got some of the best craft beer now anywhere in the country," Daryl Singleton said.

There is no word yet if Pence intends to sign the bill.

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