Ricker's Cold Beer Controversy Gets Murkier As House Kills Bill

Apr 6, 2017

 

The controversy over Ricker’s convenience stores’ ability to sell cold beer and hard alcohol grew more contentious as the House killed a bill that would’ve let Ricker’s keep its permits.

At issue are restaurant permits Ricker’s was able to secure at two of its convenience stores. Those permits allow them to sell cold beer and hard liquor for carryout – previously, the sole right of liquor stores and restaurants.

A bill in the Senate would bar Ricker’s from renewing those permits at the end of the year while creating stricter rules for all other restaurant permits. That bill passed.

A bill in the House would allow Ricker’s to keep its permits while barring all other new restaurant permits for grocery, convenience, and drug stores. That bill didn’t get called down for a vote on deadline day.

That prompted Ricker’s to issue a statement accusing lawmakers of “thwarting the will of the people.”

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says Ricker’s has set off a complicated chain reaction.

“They’ve kinda sent a … my guess is it was kind of an intentional rocket into the whole system saying, you know, it’s time we dealt with this and modernized our alcohol world,” Long says.

Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says it’s a complicated issue that must be resolved.

“We’ve got to try to do as little harm as possible in the next two weeks and then we are in agreement on one thing – this needs to be looked at. This needs to be looked at thoroughly,” Bosma says.

The two chambers will work out details on the issue in conference committee.