Chamber members gathered early Tuesday morning, October 27th, to discuss Colorado’s beer, wine, and liquor laws – an issue that has spurred controversy for quite some time and may be on the 2016 ballot.
The panel included three guests: Colorado State Senator Chris Holbert, Curtis Hubbard of OnSight Public Affairs, and Tyler Sandberg of EIS Solutions. Both Holbert and Hubbard oppose changing the law, while Sandberg is in favor of it. Sandberg represents ‘Your Choice Colorado,’ a coalition representing Coloradans who want the option of local craft brews in big retail outlets such as Safeway and King Soopers.
The current law, which only allows grocery stores to sell low-alcohol (3.2%) beer, has been a hot topic since 2008 – the same year Colorado law changed and allowed the sale of alcohol on Sundays.
What Holbert and Hubbard think: Protect independent liquor store owners and small breweries. Hubbard brought up the fact that local liquor stores are often the first distribution contact for small craft brewers.
What Sandberg thinks: 42 other states sell Colorado wine or full-strength beer in grocery stores. It’s time to give Coloradans the same choice and convenience. He also brought up the “Glendale experiment”: King Soopers, Super Target and Trader Joe’s, all located in Glendale, CO, all sell liquor, beer, and wine: No liquor stores have closed in that 2 mile radius – in fact, one has opened.
During the Q & A session, it was obvious the room was divided on what changes should be made to current legislature. One thing is for sure - the ‘Beer Wars’ will continue into 2016.
This meeting was hosted by the Chamber’s Business Leaders for Responsible Government (BLRG) group. This group provides education on business-related policy issues, and provides advocacy opportunities for members to interact with the electorate. Group members organize debates and roundtables that are open to the general Chamber membership. For more information, e-mail Natalie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A special thank you to our panelists.