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Debate continues to brew over full strength beer and wine in gro - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Debate continues to brew over full strength beer and wine in grocery stores

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The brewing debate over whether to allow supermarkets to sell full strength beer and wine is heating up. Your Choice Colorado is a group pushing for the measure to make it to the November ballot, allowing Colorado voters to decide. They say the one stop shopping is what people are looking for. Right now Colorado only allows 3.2 percent beer to be sold in stores. 

The group Keep Colorado Local is pushing back. They say out it would endanger local businesses like liquor stores, wineries, distilleries and craft brewers. The group says if the alcohol laws in Colorado are changed their business would be forced to shut down. 

Beer and wine are 70-percent of the sales at most liquor stores. Owner Dave Locke says, “I simply can’t exist on 30 percent of my pay. It would put many of us out of business. You've got people that have been surviving here for 80 years, now the rules are going to flip-flop and those people are going to lose their life savings."

If the group Your Choice Colorado was able to collect 92,000 signatures from residents of Colorado, the measure would make it to the November Ballot.

 Many of the supporters say it’s all about the convenience, "You could be at one place and get your food and get your alcohol. I would do it to pick up a bottle of wine for dinner," says shopper Jack Wyman who  would support the measure. However Wyman like most everyone we talked with said they would not stop shopping at liquor stores. The variety at a liquor store is hard to beat.

As you walk the isles of Loop Liquors, it’s obvious to see that they have just about everything, "You come in my store and I have a lot of lower price, hard-to-find items.” Your choice Colorado says it is not their goal to shut out local sellers. In fact Matt Chandler says they can successfully coexist, "Part of the reason that is going to happen here in Colorado is spirits are not a part of this initiative. It is simply real beer and wine.” Chandler explains that it could actually boost sales for businesses like local brewers, "It Opens up additional shelf space that they don't have access to allowing them to reach new customers and gain a new following."

In the past, attempts to modify the states liquor laws have repeatedly failed in Colorado legislature. Currently 42 states sell full strength beer and wine in their grocery stores.

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