Lawmakers to look at “Cold Beer Bill” Again

("Beer" by Quinn Dombrowski, CC BY-SA 2.0)

One hundred years after the prohibition of alcohol sales in the United States, Indiana still has a prohibition on the sale of cold beer at grocery and convenience stores. But, the Indiana General Aseembly has an opportunity to change that.

A cold beer bill has already been filed in the Senate, and if passed would make it legal for you to buy a cold one at grocery and convenience stores.

The legislature begins their session Monday.

“Repeals provisions that prohibit a grocery store (including a convenience store) or a drug store from selling and delivering cold beer for carryout. (Currently only a package liquor store or restaurant with carryout privileges may sell and deliver cold beer for carryout.) Removes references to the temperature of beer,” reads the bill digest on the Senate website.

Indiana Grocery and Convenience Store Assoc. Pres. Joe Lackey said he supports the bill, but doesn’t believe it will pass this year.

“There’s still a couple of retirements that need to take place,” he said.

Lackey said he believes the only reason Indiana only allows cold beer to be sold at liquor stores is so liquor stores can maintain a monopoly on their sales. He pointed out that cold beer is sold at a higher price than warm beer.

“At a time when grocery stores are going out of business all over the state, people are complaining about food desserts. But yet, cold beer would be one of the things that would allow some of those stores to stay open,” said Lackey.

He called the cold beer situation the most absurd in the country.

“People move here, come here on vacation up to the lakes up north and they go, what do you mean you can’t sell cold beer? That’s just insane!”

Lackey said he believes it’s also absurd that Indiana may pass some form of marijuana legalization before cold beer sales at grocery and convenience stores, saying the state will look at alternative revenue sources when money is needed. Lackey, who’s been involved with the convenience stores association since 1973, pointed out that the state legislature once proclaimed, under different leadership, that gambling would never happen here.

As for whether cold beer sales would affect kids who might try to buy beer illegally, “Oh bull! That’s absolute absurdity. How do they do nit in all the other states?”

The last cold beer bill failed in January 2018.