Indiana convenience stores sue for the right to sell cold beer

Store owners say old law favors liquor stores

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana convenience stores are filing suit for the right to sell cold beer in Indiana.

The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association filed the complaint in U.S. District Court, officials announced Tuesday.

Currently, Indiana law stipulates that no convenience stores, gas stations or grocery stores, only liquor stores, are allowed to sell cold beer.

IPCA and three of its members, Ricker's, Thorntons and Freedom Express, said the antiquated law favors liquor stores and puts them at a disadvantage.

"This lawsuit is about fairness, convenience and promoting competition for the sale of cold beer in a rational and responsible way so that my members can serve their customers," IPCA Executive Director Scot Imus said. "We are confident that the court will agree with us. It's not the job of the government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace."

But liquor store operators say the constitutional amendment that repealed Prohibition gives states broad leeway to regulate alcohol. 

"I don't think it'll be successful. The courts have consistently ruled in favor of the state's right to make their own laws on how alcohol is sold under the 21st Amendment to the Constitution," said liquor store spokesman John Livengood. "I'm confident that they would uphold our law."

Indiana is the only state in the U.S. that regulates beer sales based on temperature. The current law doesn't apply to wine products.

 

Follow Norman Cox on Twitter: @normancox6

 

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