Craig liquor stores oppose full beer in food stores
Is full strength beer bad for local business?
March 7, 2016
After tasting the bitterness of defeat six times since 2008, Coloradans who want full strength beer and wine in grocery stores are hopping at the chance to vote on it again this November.
Currently, only 3.2 percent beer can be sold in food stores and you cannot buy wine.
Chain stores are given an exemption at one location in the state, where customers can buy full beer, wine and liquor — for example, the Super Target in Glendale.
Your Choice Colorado is the group heading up the effort to bring full-strength beer to grocery stores, which is supported by major chains like King Soopers, City Market, Safeway and Walmart.
Georgie Aguirre-Sacasa, Your Choice Colorado campaign manager, said her organization is touring grocery stores across the state to engage voters and spread awareness.
"Really just trying to determine which is going to be the best for Coloradans moving forward," she said.
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After crafting the language for voters, supporters of the initiative will need to collect 98,482 signatures to put it on the November ballot.
As the ballot question stands now, it only focuses on bringing full strength beer and wine, not liquor, into food stores.
Opposing the initiative is a group called Keep Colorado Local.
According to its website, Keep Colorado Local is "a coalition of locally owned and independent businesses focused on preserving Colorado's unique business climate."
In Craig, local liquor stores are siding with Keep Colorado Local to protect their business and community.
Lori Gillam, owner of Stockmen's Liquor in Craig, said if the sale of full strength alcohol were allowed at Walmart, City Market or any of the gas stations in town, the competition would result in local businesses closing.
"We're not adding any consumers. We're just changing where they buy," she said. "You're going to have seven new liquor licenses in our community — liquor stores are going to go out of business."
Owner of Eastside Liquor Ryan Duran also said he believes the ballot measure would have a negative impact on his business as well as the local brewers he stocks.
"It's easy for a small brewery that has just opened up to come into my store and say 'hey, here's our lineup," he said. "I think those small breweries would have a hard time walking into City Market or Walmart."