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nakman
03-12-2009, 03:27 PM
:beer: :beer:

So as not to further hijack the Moab bar thread, we'll put this in a thread of its own..

http://denver.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2009/03/09/daily55.html?ana=e_du_pap&page=1

Thursday, March 12, 2009, 8:03am MDT | Modified: Thursday, March 12, 2009, 8:06am


Colorado lawmakers kill full-strength beer bill


Denver Business Journal - by Ed Sealover (http://www.bizjournals.com/search/results.html?Ntt=%22Ed%20Sealover%22&Ntk=All&Ntx=mode matchallpartial)



The battle in the Colorado Legislature over allowing grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer ended late Wednesday when the measure was killed, but a more comprehensive fight over Colorado liquor-sales law has only just begun.

After more than eight hours of testimony and discussion, the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee killed House Bill 1192, which would have ended the post-Prohibition practice of allowing those two kinds of stores to sell only reduced-strength beer.

Pueblo West Democratic Rep. Buffie McFadyen’s measure died by a 7-4 vote in which both backers and opponents crossed party lines. While liquor stores are allowed to sell beer of any strength, grocery and convenience stores can’t sell any beer bigger than 3.2 percent alcohol by volume, a lower-alcohol limit that remains in place in just five states.

The biggest volume of lower-strength sales traditionally occurred when liquor stores were closed on Sundays, but once the legislature repealed the Sunday liquor-store ban last year, grocery and convenience stores saw their littler beer sales plummet.

Those owners testified Wednesday that 3.2 percent beer sales have dropped off anywhere from 8 percent to 80 percent since the new law came into place, depending on the location of the store. Several spoke of having to lay off workers to make up for declining revenues.

Bill Gallagher, who owns three retail stores and services more than 90 others with his company, Offen Petroleum, noted independent convenience stores took a significant hit in 2007 when the Legislature allowed big gas chains to sell their product below cost.

Beer is the second-largest non-gas product sold at those stores now, and requiring it to be an antiquated, low-strength product was hurting local small businessmen who already were living on the margins, he said.
“Last year’s bill was a dramatic hit to small businesses in Colorado,” said Rep. David Balmer, a Centennial Republican who was one of HB1192’s biggest supporters. “I look upon this bill as a bill help small businesspeople in Colorado.”

But opposition to the measure came from many angles. Consultant Tom Binnings of Summit Economics in Colorado Springs estimated that if chain grocery stores are allowed to peel customers away by selling full-strength beer, 50 percent of the state’s 1,672 independent liquor stores could close within five years.

Those stores, most of which have five or less employees, would lose at least 30 percent of their sales, sacking the state with a loss of another 10,000 jobs, he said.

If liquor stores go under, so too could many of Colorado’s more than 100 craft breweries, which flourish in an environment where locally owned businesses rather than out-of-state grocery stores decide what beverages to sell, several brewers said.

The few small breweries that make 3.2 percent beer can’t get onto the Bud- and Coors-filled shelves of convenience stores now, and declining shelf space would suffocate their market, said Jack Sosebee, co-owner of Denver’s Del Norte Brewing Company.

“House Bill 1192 is an attack on small businesses, employment and a great Colorado tradition,” Sosebee testified.

Questions also arose about 18-year-olds being allowed to sell full-strength beer in convenience stores, whether the greater availability of the product could create public safety problems and whether grocery stores would ask next to sell wine and spirits.

In the end, several legislators said that while they agree that the state’s liquor-sales laws need reform, they felt it should come in comprehensive fashion, not just in a piecemeal bill that benefits grocery and convenience stores.

“I think that we opened the can of worms last year, unfortunately, and I think we’re going to be back visiting this again,” said Rep. Sara Gagliardi, D-Arvada.

But before the legislature gets a crack at comprehensive reform, proponents of HB 1192 may push some sort of similar measure to the ballot next year.

Sean Duffy, who had headed the coalition of bill backers, noted that they collected roughly 66,000 petition signatures from supporters who want the convenience of buying alcohol in grocery and convenience stores.


He will talk now with group leaders about a statutory change or constitutional amendment that could look at beer, wine and spirits sales in an expanded area, he said after the hearing. The measure will encompass more than just 3.2 percent beer, he assured.

“That’s an option I think folks will start looking at,” he said of a looming ballot measure.

McFadyen had argued to the committee that it would be much safer for the legislators to make such changes than to allow interest groups to bring them to the ballot. The hearing was as packed as any the Legislature has held this year.

An overflow crowd numbering more than 500 people spilled out of the Old Supreme Court Chambers in the Capitol and into two separate committee rooms that were equipped with speakers so that people could gather in there and listen to the hearing.

It also brought out a range of emotions. Testifiers initially wore “vote yes” and “vote no” stickers but were made to take them off, per House rules, by sergeants.

Opponents sported American flag stickers to plead their case; when one apparent proponent turned the flag upside down on his chest, he also was made to remove the political statement.







discuss... :beer: :beer: :beer:

AxleIke
03-12-2009, 03:33 PM
Its a good thing.

In this economy we don't need to put more small businesses (ie liquor stores) in any more hurt than they already are.

nakman
03-12-2009, 03:38 PM
Yeah, I agree.. it's kind of like allowing WalMart to take over another market. But isn't that short sighted though? I mean if you were a liquor store owner who was vulnerable to this, shouldn't your long term growth strategy be something other than "I hope they don't change the law?"

AxleIke
03-12-2009, 03:58 PM
It works in CA.

I think it would be fine, were it not for the depressed economy.

The only problem with a new business strategy is, "what else is there?"

Beer is good. I'm not sure there is a way to make it better, or easier to buy, at a liquor store. The grocery stores have the advantage of convenience. You can get a sixer when you pick up your groceries. Easy.

But, grocers are likely not going to start selling rum/whiskey/pick your poison. Liquor stores will still have that part of the market cornered.

Hulk
03-12-2009, 04:02 PM
Kind of sucks that I can't buy a bottle of red wine at the grocery store when I'm already buying some spaghetti, red sauce and a loaf of garlic bread for dinner. In 45 other U.S. states, I can do that.

Shark Bait
03-12-2009, 04:19 PM
There are still liquor stores in CA. Just less of them. I'm for it. Not sure how to handle the 18 year old check out clerk selling it, though, unless they lower the drinking age. Convenience stores should be allowed to sell regular strength beer, too.:) Wonder if they could allow the liquor store owners to "sublet" in the grocery stores?

SteveH
03-12-2009, 04:40 PM
If you view this as an issue of 'fair treatment' under the law, all stores should be able to sell whatever they want.

Where (exactly) is the threshold you cross to (basically) screw larger store owners who want to sell liquor? Why not close down AppleJack in Denver, because they are a 'supermarket' for booze and can sell it cheaper than a 5 employee Mom and Pop party store in Montrose?

Every state in the US has different laws, but anything other than a free market approach is hosing one set of consumers (by law) to fund the livelyhood of another.

treerootCO
03-12-2009, 04:54 PM
Let me throw a little fun fact in the mix here....

Go to the Target on Colorado and Alameda. They sell groceries and have a full liquor isle with wine, full strength beer, and spirits... It is the city of Glendale I believe so that may have something to do with it.

farnhamstj
03-12-2009, 07:26 PM
If you view this as an issue of 'fair treatment' under the law, all stores should be able to sell whatever they want.

Where (exactly) is the threshold you cross to (basically) screw larger store owners who want to sell liquor? Why not close down AppleJack in Denver, because they are a 'supermarket' for booze and can sell it cheaper than a 5 employee Mom and Pop party store in Montrose?

Every state in the US has different laws, but anything other than a free market approach is hosing one set of consumers (by law) to fund the livelyhood of another.

Yeah man, Legalize it. Oh, are you still talking about beer.

RockRunner
03-12-2009, 09:17 PM
Let me throw a little fun fact in the mix here....

Go to the Target on Colorado and Alameda. They sell groceries and have a full liquor isle with wine, full strength beer, and spirits... It is the city of Glendale I believe so that may have something to do with it.

Nope not a Glendale fhing. It is a stupid CO law, every grocery store can run one store with a full fledged liquor store in it. The Safeway on S Broadway and Mineral has a full liquor store. I think the King Soopers in Aurora has one too.

I can see both sides to the debate, just think if you just bought a liquor last year with the idea that you were the only group to sell 6.0. Now they say everyone can sell 6.0, there goes part of your market share you did not count on. You can't fight the drop in sales as you won't be able to under sell them, or draw new customers in with other products. The super markets will have the upper hand no matter what if the law would pass.

From a super market point of few, they want to keep the customer in their store. Make it convenient for us to shop there and forget about the liquor store. Once that is completed then they go after the hard liquor and that takes care of the little guy and the super market wins, case closed.

Convience is a great but at what cost??

DaveInDenver
03-13-2009, 05:59 AM
If liquor stores go under, so too could many of Colorado’s more than 100 craft breweries, which flourish in an environment where locally owned businesses rather than out-of-state grocery stores decide what beverages to sell, several brewers said.

The few small breweries that make 3.2 percent beer can’t get onto the Bud- and Coors-filled shelves of convenience stores now, and declining shelf space would suffocate their market, said Jack Sosebee, co-owner of Denver’s Del Norte Brewing Company.
There is maybe some truth to this statement. Oregon just recently (I think in about 2005 or so) allowed grocery store sales, but yet Oregon and Colorado are the top two states in micro and craft brewers. That sorta supports the reasoning that the big dogs might squeeze out smaller guys in big box stores. That could also be simply demographic, young, hipster populations more than anything. Anyway, what happened in Oregon when they allowed grocery sales of beer is apparently there was little change to the retail sales but consumption at the source (i.e. at the brew pub) went up. Something like 30% of the beer made in Oregon is consumed in Oregon.

Now don't take this as evidence I support preferential treatment against big groceries. I rather doubt that the sales of good stuff would change much. I personally would still do most of my shopping at Morgan's, but like Matt says, it would be nice to have the option of buying a sixer when you're picking up your doughnuts on the way to work. But honestly, it's probably a good thing that the government spends a lot of time trying to figure out how to screw one beer retailer over another instead of doing real damage. Maybe next they can take on the rising cost of NFL stadium naming rights and the absence of library card catalogs, too.

Red_Chili
03-13-2009, 08:22 AM
The Safeway on S Broadway and Mineral has a full liquor store.

Yeah. Try to get customer service in that one. Oh, and the prices pretty much suck too.

OK, so relying on "I hope they don't change the law" for a business strategy sounds sketchy as h3ll.

Yet every business everywhere depends on a stable, predictable network of laws and regulations to create a business environment that can be counted on.

Business hates uncertainty; look at the stock market recently to see an example of this. This extends to property law, and Hernando de Soto has convincingly argued(1) that the US system of property law is one of the primary reasons for its economic ascendancy. You can count on things being pretty much the same next year as it was this year, from a business perspective. Now you can focus on your market without fearing the government will socialize your business, or in some other way take your property, intellectual or otherwise.

This falls into that category IMHO. So in reality, EVERY business has as part of their business strategy, "I hope they don't change the law". At least more than incrementally, or comprehensively with a great deal of thought as to the repercussions.

I like my government's wheels to grind exceedingly slow.

(1) http://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Capital-Capitalism-Triumphs-Everywhere/dp/product-description/0465016146

Air Randy
03-13-2009, 08:28 AM
I hate to see anyone go out of business but I also don't believe you should use legislation to over come the forces of the free market.

I'm sorry if a mom & pop store went out of business but I'm very happy to have Walmart and Home Depot stores in my area where I can buy the same goods from a larger selection for a lower price.

I think everyone would agree that they enjoy going to a big King Soopers or Safeway and getting every single grocery item in one location where the competition is such that prices are as low as they can be. Compare that to the "good ol' days" of going to the butcher for meat, the bakery for bread, etc. All those mom & pop places went out of business too. How is this issue any different?

I say let the big stores sell all the same stuff the liquor stores do. The prices will come down, many of the little M&P stores will close, but in the end there will still be plenty of liquor stores probably just bigger and more distributed.

Red_Chili
03-13-2009, 09:18 AM
I hate to see anyone go out of business but I also don't believe you should use legislation to over come the forces of the free market.

I'm sorry if a mom & pop store went out of business but I'm very happy to have Walmart and Home Depot stores in my area where I can buy the same goods from a larger selection for a lower price.
Actually, Wal-Mart regularly negotiates sweetheart deals with municipalities (sweetheart for Wally World, that is). The market under those circumstances is hardly free. Diversity is a mark of a truly free market; commercial hegemony infringes it as much as government intrusion.

Compare that to the "good ol' days" of going to the butcher for meat, the bakery for bread, etc. All those mom & pop places went out of business too. How is this issue any different?


Interestingly, the "good ol' days" model is still very much alive and well in NYC, and is part and parcel of new urbanism development, which is likely to save our bacon IMHO.

A completely free market, a truly Darwinian model of survival of the fittest, is an ugly and rapaciously violent thing, and we haven't seen it in modern economies in quite a long time.

Air Randy
03-13-2009, 02:28 PM
Yeah, what ever. Thats my story and I'm stickin to it.

timmbuck2
03-13-2009, 03:38 PM
If I want a good selection, good prices, want to go after 6pm or on a weekend after 4, and know I need a bunch of stuff, I head to Lowe's...(Home Depot sucks with no cashiers anymore, checking yourself out sucks when you have 200 bolts and 4 different sizes/kinds of lumber.)

If I want good customer service, or a special part, or only want to drive a mile, I go to the local hardware store.

Same with liquor...if I want a cheap bottle of Chianti with my dinner or a quick sixer, I would grab it at the grocery store...if I want the good stuff I would go to a liquor store.

Imagine if only the local mom and pop hardware stores were legally allowed to sell nails and screws...Lowe's and Home Depot could not. Makes about as much sense...

T

Cheeseman
03-13-2009, 04:49 PM
In the news last evening they also mentioned that UTAH passed a law that only 3.2 beer can be drawn from taps at a bar. Soooo does that apply to the Moab Brewery? Or does the microbrewery ruling still apply there?
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RockRunner
03-15-2009, 11:10 PM
In the news last evening they also mentioned that UTAH passed a law that only 3.2 beer can be drawn from taps at a bar. Soooo does that apply to the Moab Brewery? Or does the microbrewery ruling still apply there?

It better still apply here:eek: Even though I drink my beer for taste and not alcohol content I really believe the taste in micro brews is affected by the alcohol content.

fubuki
03-16-2009, 09:27 AM
The main reason I wanted this to pass was for Trader Joe's. I moved from WA and TJ's was my primary grocery store. I was shocked they didn't have any stores here and was told the reason was the liquor laws. I assume they won't open a store where they can't sell wine and full strength beer.