Liquor store owners concerned over Colorado's new beer bill - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Liquor store owners concerned over Colorado's new beer bill

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A new bill set to take effect January 1, 2019 will allow grocery and convenient stores to sell full-strength beer. 

It's a decision that could mean trouble for some small businesses. 

With big chain stores like King Soopers and Safeway able to sell full-strength beer it has some owners worried. Some say jobs could be lost and that shops may be forced to shut down. 

Jack Backman, owner and manager of Cheers Liquor Mart, said, "It is going to affect us because you're going to have full-strength beer in every convenient store and every grocery store come January 1."

It's a battle that's been raging in Colorado for many years: whether to give grocery and convenient stores more freedom in the kind of beer they sell. It's a battle that is over as of this week. 

Backman said, "We knew it was always coming at some time. I mean, it's not going to be good for our business or any of our businesses."

Senate Bill 243 awaits Governor Hickenlooper's signature and would allow those big chain stores to sell beer containing more than 3.2% alcohol by weight or 4% by volume. It's something that's been solely reserved for liquor stores like Backman's. 

"I think...locally and especially all across Colorado...within the first year or two you're going to see a lot of small stores close, those that are located in a strip center next to a King Soopers or a Safeway."

The latter is right behind Backman's business. 

"We could end up losing some employees over this...and it's jobs...it's nothing you can really get upset about. We just have to adapt and make sure we take care of our own business, and make sure we take care of our customers and we'll survive. We'll get through it. We'll just figure it out."

News 5 reached out to King Soopers. The business says it's looking forward to supporting the local craft industry and that customers have been wanting this convenience for awhile. News 5 also reached out to Safeway. As of Friday night a response had not been received.

If you'd like to see the full details of Senate Bill 243 click here.

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