COLORADO — It's been nearly one year since Colorado started allowing full strength beer in grocery stores. At the start of the year, many liquor stores in Colorado Springs and Southern Colorado expressed some anxiety over the change.
For Veterans Liquor in Colorado Springs, situated near King Soopers on Academy and Austin Bluffs- they say they noticed some impact, but overall their numbers aren't showing a major decline.
"I think we've had a good plan moving forward from when we started this store we wanted to sort of be a niche store and turns out the customers like that," said Justin Roach, general manager of Veterans Liquor.
Roach says this year there was also a heavy focus on hard seltzers, and while grocery stores can sell many hard seltzers, liquor stores have the advantage of selling stronger ones. Roach adds that some Colorado breweries have made those higher strength seltzers to support local shops.
"What we're finding out is customers are still sticking around here and shopping at these smaller local stores because of a) the customer service and the larger selection of course too," Roach said.
The state is benefiting from the additional convenience for beer sales. According to numbers from the Department of Revenue, by September of this year, beer sales exceed 2018's numbers by more than $300,000. The Department of Revenue will release an annual report at the beginning of next year.
However, there were still liquor stores that closed in 2019 as an impact from the beer sales. Roach says there main priority was putting a heavy emphasis on products people can't find in the big box stores.