Convenience stores expand legal action to sell cold beer - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Convenience stores expand legal action to sell cold beer

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ELKHART - Executives and members of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (IPCA) announced they will continue their legal challenge of Indiana's law governing the sale of cold beer with an appeal in federal court. There is also a lawsuit in state court challenging Indiana's unfair alcohol law."Our members and the public understand Indiana's alcohol laws lack common-sense and we are asking the state and federal courts to put an end to this," IPCA Executive Director Scot Imus said. "It is clear the monopoly liquor stores have limits consumer choice and hurts the growth of our state's economy."

A federal appeal was filed today in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit. IPCA and it's members say there is no rational basis to allow liquor stores to hold a monopoly on cold beer particularly when their compliance rate with Indiana alcohol laws is so poor. The U.S. District Court's decision in June failed to overturn an archaic law regulating the sale of beer based on temperature. 

The IPCA and it's members also filed a lawsuit in Marion County Superior Court claiming Indiana's alcohol law regarding cold beer sales violates the Indiana Constitution. 

The current law in Indiana says convenience, grocery, and pharmacy stores are only allowed to sell beer warm, while their competitors in the carryout market are allowed to sell beer cold. The law does not apply to wine products, allowing convenience stores to sell these products cold. 

Liquor stores in Michiana say stand by the law.

"It just doesn't make sense to mix cold beer with gasoline, if we're gonna blow it wide open laundromats, dime stores," says A.J. Rodino.  His family has owned liquor stores in the area for decades.  He says that employees at convenience stores won't be properly trained.

"Even these convenience stores and gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, the manager or pharmacist is suppose to know the laws but the person selling it doesn't know the laws, I'll guarantee you they don't know the laws," says Rodino.

Imus says there is no difference.

"Beer is beer. I mean, if you buy warm beer from a convenience store, it can be cooled in a matter of minutes. The same product. The alcohol doesn't change. What this really is all about is it's a division of market share," says Imus.

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