Illinois Village Bans Sale of Cold Single-Serve Beer

As Tennessee begins alcohol-retailing debate

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. -- Arlington Heights, Ill., has a new strategy in its battle with those who wander village streets, sipping their favorite beverage from a paper bag: warm beer.

A law passed by the village this month prohibits the sale of single cans and bottles of refrigerated beer, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune. Single-can beers larger than 24 ounces and single-bottle beers larger than 12 ounces may still be purchased but will have to be chilled elsewhere, if at all.

Village officials first considered an outright ban on single-container [image-nocss] sales, but the alternate plan emerged after retailers said such a blanket prohibition could cost them big bucks.

"The compromise is good," said retailer Connie Karavidas, co-owner of Teddy's Liquor Stores in Arlington Heights. "Working with the village and police, it's the best we can do."

The law takes effect in January.

Meanwhile, in March other restrictions take effect on single containers of wine, which must be larger than 10 ounces.

Other alcoholic beverages must be in containers larger than 6.4 ounces, a requirement aimed at easy-sipping bottles like those sold on airlines.

Mount Prospect, Ill., has a similar ban on the sale of refrigerated single-containers. "We haven't had any violations or any complaints," police officer William Roscop told the newspaper.

But will it work?

"Don't be surprised if it doesn't work out to the hopes of the Police Department," Arlington Heights village trustee Joe Farwell warned. "The alcoholic isn't going to sit there and say, 'Well, I like my beer cold.' "

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, wine is back on the table for state lawmakers.

A panel set up to consider whether supermarkets and convenience stores should be allowed to sell wine began work this week, reopening the ongoing fight over overhauling Tennessee's liquor laws, according to a report in The Tennessean.

The Joint Study Committee on Wine in Grocery Stores plans to spend as long as a year reviewing whether the state's alcohol-control laws should be refashioned. But as the committee prepares to kick off with a hearing Wednesday, the sides remain far apart over howor even ifmajor reforms should occur.

"They're asking a lot of questions, and I think that's a good idea, but the basic concept of the way liquor has been sold is very normal for most states," said Bard Quillman, a Franklin liquor store owner who also serves as a director of the Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association. "I'm not advocating changes to the law that are intended to change the fundamentals of the law."

The committee is taking on an issue that has confounded legislators the past two sessions. Behind the debate are two of the most powerful lobbying forces in the state, squaring off over an issue that has high stakes for both.

On one side are liquor store owners and their suppliers, which operate under a decades-old regulatory system that restricts competition and tightly controls what they can buy and sell.

On the other is the Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association, a group that represents 700 independent and chain supermarkets and nearly 500 convenience stores.

"It's going to be good business for lobbyists," Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, the study committee's organizer and sponsor of a bill that would allow grocery stores to sell wine, told the newspaper.