JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A state senator wants to force Missouri stores to sell warm beer, according to the Associated Press.
Under a bill (SB763) by State Senator Bill Alter, grocery and convenience stores would risk losing their liquor licenses if they sold beer colder than 60 degrees. The intent is to cut down on drunken driving by making it less tempting to pop open a beer after leaving the store.
"The only reason why beer would need to be cold is so that it can be consumed right away," said Alter, who has been a police officer [image-nocss] for more than 20 years.
He said the idea came from a fifth-grade student in Jefferson County who was participating in a program to teach elementary students about state government. He sought their suggestions for new laws and chose the cold beer ban from a list of the top three ideas.
"I thought it had the best chance at getting legislative attention," said Alter, R-High Ridge. "Plus, I think it's a good idea whether or not other people do."
Some lawmakers, lobbyists and other parties, however, are lukewarm about the idea. Ron Leone, executive vice president for the Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, said the combination of Missouri's drinking and driving laws and designated driver programs already have curbed the number of people who drink and drive. "It would be an inconvenience for law-abiding citizens who want to purchase cold beer for picnics, parties and social gatherings," he said. "People who want to drive drunk will drive drunk anyway."
Leone said he did not know if there was a standard temperature at which beer is sold, but added that most refrigerators are set in the mid-to-low 40s.
Alter said the student who suggested the legislation would be a witness at the bill's hearing, which has not been scheduled.