INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana convenience-store owners are taking their message to consumers in their ongoing drive to change state laws on the sale of cold beer.
Led by the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (IPCA), retailers began the Chill Indiana campaign June 5, simply stating that "Indiana business owners who are allowed to sell warm beer in their stores should be allowed to sell cold beer as well."
“The convenience-store industry sees thousands of customers, and so we have the audience and we will certainly use those stores to reach that audience,” said Scot Imus, executive director of IPCA, in introducing the campaign.
The launch included the unveiling of results of a new poll that showed an overwhelming majority of Hoosiers favor expanding cold-beer sales in Indiana and allowing carryout alcohol sales on Sunday.
About 70 percent of those surveyed said they favored allowing all licensed retailers to sell cold beer, according to results reported by the Indianapolis Star. Current law restricts cold-beer sales primarily to package-liquor stores.
"While we weren’t surprised to find public support for cold beer sales, we were taken a bit aback by the level of that support," Imus said.
The issue of cold-beer sales heated up in Indiana when convenience-store retailer Ricker's began selling cold beer in two of its stores because the sites met state standards as restaurants. The loophole was quickly closed, however, by state officials. The General Assembly then set up a state commission to study alcohol issues before next year's legislative session, when lawmakers will have to decide whether to allow Anderson, Ind.-based Ricker's to continue selling cold beer.
"We need to reform our prohibition-era alcohol rules to address our consumers of today," Jay Ricker, company chairman, told CSP Daily News. "It should not be the aim of our legislators to give any business group a legal monopoly."