Package liquor stores run radio ad targeting legal loophole that allowed Ricker's to sell cold beer

Posted at 7:33 AM, Apr 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-19 14:25:39-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- If you've listened to the radio this week, you may have heard an ad attacking Ricker's after the gas station company found a loophole, allowing two stores to sell cold beer.

"How does that work?" the ad asks. "He just put out 25 chairs and said that was a restaurant."

Ricker's started selling cold beer at two of its gas stations after making modifications and obtaining alcohol permits. The gas stations got alcohol permits after they opened restaurants at their property in Sheridan and Columbus.

Ricker's is urging its supporters to contact state lawmakers to keep existing permits to sell cold beer. 

“The liquor stores in the state of Indiana are basically a legal monopoly. Nobody else can serve cold beer in the state of Indiana except the liquor stores,” said Jay Rickers, owner of the gas stations, in March. “I think that’s fundamentally not consumer friendly, and I think people pay more because they only have one place they can go buy it.”

Top Republican leaders call it a "legal loophole," and admit it's been tougher than expected to tackle. A member of the committee working on the legislation says he's hearing a report with the changes will be made public soon.

For the package liquor and convenience stores, it could mean changes for their bottom line. 

The ad running on WIBC comes from the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers.