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Indiana Retailers Press for Cold Beer Sales

This week, convenience store owners talked to the legislative committee studying the issue.
September 13, 2017

​INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana convenience stores aren’t asking to add more alcoholic products to their shelves—they just want to sell beer at a colder temperature. “We want to take the product that we currently sell warm and sell that product cold,” said Matt Norris, representing the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association in the Tribune Star.

This week, the association and convenience store owners made their case before the two-year legislative committee tasked with reviewing Indiana’s alcohol laws. The association supports additional measures, such as only allowing cashiers 21 and old to sell alcohol, along with state licensing and training of staff. Plus, Norris said retailers would be fine with mandatory carding for all customers who want to buy alcohol.

At the hearing, retailers told the committee that convenience stores need to change to meet customer demand. “I feel like the state is picking and choosing winners and losers in businesses. ... I don’t think the market should be set by edict. I think it should be set by our consumers on what we can sell,” said Jay Ricker, co-owner of Ricker’s Convenience Stores.

Tourists often complain about the lack of cold beer at convenience stores. This tourist destination brings a lot of out-of-state people to the area. They’re confused and frustrated when they come in and just want to buy cold beer and we tell them they can’t,” David Kenny with Super Test Oil said. “The retail landscape has changed and competition from other channels of retail has made running a profitable business much harder.”

Currently, Indiana is the only state with regulations as to the temperature of beer. A few other states only let convenience stores sell 3.2% beer or have alcohol sales separated from the food area.