Colorado: Supermarkets push to sell full-strength beer |

Colorado: Supermarkets push to sell full-strength beer

DENVER, Colorado ” Colorado liquor stores will be able to stay open on Sundays starting in July under a bill signed by Gov. Bill Ritter on Monday, reversing a law dating from the repeal of Prohibition.

Times have changed since the 1933 measure, Ritter said, adding that the new law is in the best interest of consumers.

Supermarkets and convenience stores are now pushing for a law that would let them sell full-strength beer to better compete with seven-day-a-week beer sales in liquor stores.

They’re currently limited to selling 3.2 beer.

Sean Duffy, a spokesman for the grocery and convenience stores, said they aren’t against Sunday sales but believe that limiting them to 3.2 beer is unfair. He said only four states sell the “archaic product.”

Ritter said he considered how the Sunday sales bill would affect supermarkets and convenience stores before signing it. He said those stores benefited from a law passed last year allowing them to sell discounted gasoline.

The new law makes Colorado the 35th state to permit Sunday alcohol sales at retail stores. It’s the 13th state pass such a law since 2002, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the liquor trade group.

The council lost an attempt to repeal Colorado’s blue law three years ago in the face of opposition from liquor stores. This year, owners of large liquor stores assembled a coalition with smaller ones to push for Sunday sales and to fight a proposal to let supermarkets and convenience stores sell full-strength beer and wine.

A Senate committee killed that bill after liquor store owners said it would hurt Colorado’s system of independent liquor stores as well as the craft brewers the stores have helped promote.

The supermarket group has since dropped its bid to sell wine but is still holding out for full-strength beer.

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