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Westword: Can Colorado’s Latest Proposed Liquor Law Changes Save Independent Liquor Stores?

Colorado’s liquor laws may be changing once again. House Bill 1373 aims to help independent liquor stores, which have struggled since the sale of wine in grocery stores went into effect on March 1, 2023.

The state’s liquor laws used to tip the scales in favor of independent liquor stores and craft breweries. Prior to 2016, liquor license holders were only allowed to operate one store in the entire state; grocery and convenience stores were limited to selling 3.2 percent ABV beer; and brewpubs were allowed to operate similarly to restaurants, with self-distribution rights and permissive on-premises and off-premises sales.

Some also belive that HB-1373 sidesteps the work done by the Liquor Advisory Group formed by Governor Jared Polis in July 2022. “HB-1373 creates a distraction and unnecessary war among the differing interests of the alcohol industry and disregards the time and resources invested in the extensive stakeholder process that occurred over the course of last year,” says Colorado Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Loren Furman. “This work resulted in a comprehensive report, with the intent of finding consensus among the many interests in the alcohol industry, which involved small and large liquor stores, beer and liquor manufacturers, retailers, distributors, business organizations and local entities, among others. Any legislation addressing these issues should take this work into consideration.”

Read more here.