INDIANAPOLIS -- Ricker's chairman said the Senate's decision to allow only their chain to continue selling cold beer - for now - is "stifling" to free enterprise in the state of Indiana.
Jay Ricker issued a statement on Thursday saying the Senate "decided that Indiana should remain in the 1930's" after they passed the measure and that lawmakers are not listening to the people of Indiana.
Lawmakers approved House Bill 1496, allowing two Indiana Ricker's locations to keep selling cold beer, for now, but stopping any other convenience store or restaurant from getting a permit for the next two years.
The Indiana-based chain began selling cold beer for on-site consumption and takeout at its Sheridan and Columbus locations last month after they opened restaurants inside the store and received the permits from the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.
In Indiana, cold beer sales are prohibited at all retail outlets except liquor stores.
Jay Ricker, chairman of Ricker’s Convenience Stores, has called the current laws regarding cold beer sales a “legal monopoly” saying they’re not consumer friendly and cause people to pay more for something they shouldn’t have to.
Senate approves cold beer bill re: Ricker's in 40-8 vote @rtv6
— Katie Heinz (@katieheinz6) April 6, 2017
Past attempts to change those laws have failed; the most recent one was in December 2015.
Ricker released a statement about Thursday's decision:
“Despite the overwhelming public outcry for fairness and transparency regarding Ricker’s restaurants and reforming our state's liquor laws, the House inexplicably decided that Indiana should remain in the 1930s. The will of the people was thwarted today, and it is incumbent upon the leadership of the General Assembly to explain why. It is no exaggeration to say that every single person who has spoken to me about this issue has expressed complete and utter dismay at how Ricker’s and other restaurants have been treated during this legislative session. Stifling free enterprise and the free market is not how we get a State that Works."
The bill will likely go before a conference committee for discussions before it moves forward.