Indiana legislative leaders aren’t certain they’ll resolve a cold beer sales controversy this session.
Two Ricker’s convenience stores, using a legal loophole, recently secured the ability to sell cold beer. That was a right reserved solely for liquor stores and restaurants.
But efforts in legislative committees to undo Ricker’s move hit a snag when stakeholders pointed out that the proposed language could affect movie theaters, golf courses, bowling alleys and specialty food stores.
Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says the issue has become much more complicated.
“The genie’s out of this bottle; I don’t know if we can put it back in. But we need to redefine the world of alcohol that we’re operating in right now,” Long says.
House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) admits finding that redefinition in the remaining few weeks of session is difficult. He says the solution might be a moratorium on all new permits and a study committee on the issue later this year.
“The two permits that Ricker’s has received expire at the end of this year and the start of next year, so we may be forced to allow this for a while,” Bosma says.
Bosma adds the state’s alcohol laws likely need a complete overhaul.