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Colorado Lawyer Submits New Ballot Initiative on Beer, Wine Sales

Last month, a House committee squashed a bill that would have allowed convenience stores to sell full-strength beer.
March 15, 2010

DENVER - A new ballot initiative has been filed that would let grocery stores stock full-strength beer, liquor and wine, along with allowing convenience stores to offer full-strength beer, the Denver Business Journal reports.

Earlier this year, a House committee did not approve a measure that would have let full-strength beer be sold in convenience stores.

Attorney Blake Harrison tried in November to get a ballot initiative approved to allow convenience and grocery stores to stock wine and full-strength beer. His new proposal, which does not have the previous mandates of specific space requirements for craft beers and wines, would let supermarkets and convenience stores stock whatever brands they wanted. Both the Colorado Retail Council and the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association back his latest attempt.

The state title-setting board will hear Initiative 48 on April 7. The measure would permit grocery stores to sell liquor, too, but only allow convenience stores to sell full-strength beer.

If approved by the board, supporters would need to collect around 76,000 signatures to get the measure on the November ballot. Chris Howes, president of the Colorado Retail Council, said his members would get out there to help gather the required signatures.

"Our number-one message is: Convenience for the customer and breaking up the monopoly that the liquor stores have had," said Howes. "We want to sell people a product that they want to buy."

Mark Larson, executive director of the Colorado Wyoming Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, told NACS Daily that they tried to work with the liquor store industry on the other bill.

"Our outreach to liquor stores to craft fair and equitable legislation was meet with claims that 'liquor stores don��t have to compromise,��" he said. "The legislative committee chose not to advance the previous bill while caving in to intense and abusive liquor store demands. Accordingly, we have no options left but to take this consumer choice issue to the ballot while attempting to get our beer customers back."