INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (IPCA) is decrying "backroom gamesmanship" by two other retail associations for a partnership that gained some retailers an advantage in selling alcohol beverages but left c-stores out in the cold.
Indiana's Alcohol Code Revision Commission on Nov. 14 approved a proposal to permit the sale of alcohol on Sundays between noon and 8 p.m. The plan, which would lift a decades-old Sunday sales ban, will now go to the full General Assembly for consideration for a vote on Dec. 8.
The vote came on the heels of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers (IABR), which represents state liquor stores, and the Indiana Retail Council, the voice of larger retail stores, agreeing to support the Sunday sales effort, one that the IABR has historically fought against.
Convenience-store retailers have been fighting hard in recent months to loosen state beer-sales laws, primarily for the right to sell cold beer from c-store shelves. The recent agreement by liquor stores and big-box retailers sets that fight back, they said.
"For well over a decade, the liquor-store industry has vehemently opposed Sunday sales, testifying ... that such a move would put 25% of liquor stores out of business," the IPCA said in a statement. "At the same time, the Indiana Retail Council ... campaign[ed] for sensible alcohol laws, which included cold-beer [sales in grocery and convenience stores] and Sunday sales. Why are they now suddenly against cold beer sales?"
With this change of attitude by the Indiana Retail Council, the IPCA believes the recent Sunday sales effort is "nothing more than liquor stores and big-box stores protecting their turf. Instead, we would ask legislators to support the common-sense reform of moving beer from store floors to coolers."
Meanwhile, grocery and convenience stores in Arkansas can now sell wine after a federal judge rejected a request from liquor-store proprietors to maintain a ban on such sales.
Previously, grocery and convenience stores were limited to selling only small-batch farm wines, according to a report in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. They will now be able to expand their selections to include all wine varieties.
The law creating a grocery-store wine permit officially took effect Oct. 1, but liquor stores had challenged the change to state law, arguing that grocers were subject to less strict requirements. The judge ruled liquor stores have stricter rules because they also sell hard liquor, the report said.