State Senate Committee Rejects Expanded Cold Beer Sales
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Although removal of a ban on Sunday carry-out alcohol sales has support, lawmakers at the Indiana Statehouse do not favor expanding the availability of cold beer for purchase.
The Senate Public Policy Committee voted 9-1 against Senate Bill 26 Wednesday. The bill would have allowed grocery stores, convenience stores, and pharmacies to sell cold beer.
Currently, only liquor stores may sell beer chilled. Indiana is the only state that regulates the temperature at which beer can be sold.
At least one hundred people showed up to the Statehouse to support cold beer sales bill. Bill author Sen. Phil Boots has called Indiana’s cold beer law outdated.
But some business owners still spoke out against it. The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers issued a statement after the vote applauding the decision, but expressing support for Sunday alcohol sales instead.
“Now that this poor public policy has been soundly rejected by the Alcohol Code Revision Commission and by the Indiana State Legislature after months of hearings and testimony, we consider this issue settled,” said association chairman Jon Sinder. “We remain fully committed to working with legislators on successfully passing a law that will allow for the sale of alcohol for carry out on Sunday for the first time since prohibition. It is time for Sunday sales!”
The Sunday sales bill would allow beer, wine, and liquor to be sold between noon and 8:00 p.m. on the Sabbath. That bill, Senate Bill 1, unanimously passed the Senate Public Policy Committee last week. It is awaiting a final vote in the Senate before going across the hall to the House, where a committee has passed a House version of the legislation.
“For the past 10 months, I have been collaborating with big box and liquor stores, business owners and fellow lawmakers to create a bill that is simple, fair and reasonable,” Alting said. “I think the collaboration and simplification of this bill is key to pass it into law, and it will be beneficial and more convenient for Hoosiers.”
Eliminating the cold beer law and Sunday sales ban were each ideas studied by the Alcohol Code Revision Commission, which met last year to study an overhaul of Indiana’s liquor laws.
An Old National Bank/Ball State University 2017 Hoosier Survey performed last year found 61 percent of Hoosiers support allowing grocers and gas stations to sell cold beer. Fifty-eight percent supported the legalization of Sunday sales.