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Colorado's Liquor Stores And Grocers Renew Familiar Fight Over Alcohol Sales

DENVER (CBS4) - A familiar fight is brewing between Colorado's liquor stores and grocers.

There is a renewed push to change liquor laws, so more grocery stores can sell full-strength beer and wine. Only one store of a grocery store chain can currently sell full-strength beer and wine in Colorado. But a new group, Your Choice Colorado, is trying to change that to make all stores eligible.

Craft Beer
(credit: CBS)

The group is backed by large grocery store chains and says Colorado's current law is outdated with grocers only able to sell 3.2 beer.

"The 3.2 law is left over from prohibition," says Georgie Aguirre-Sacasa of Your Choice Colorado. "Eight decades later it's still on the books but it's time for a change."

RELATED: Groceries Launch Effort To Change Colorado's Liquor Law

Forty-two other states sell full-strength beer or wine at grocery stores. Your Choice says if lawmakers don't open the option to allow grocers to sell full-strength beer and wine, they'll go straight to the voters, asking for a ballot question to settle the ongoing debate once and for all.

Argonaut Wine & Liquor says beer and wine in grocery stores will hurt small business owners who built their businesses around the laws of the time, according to co-owner Ron Vaughn.

sign supporting local alcohol/against supermarket sales of liquor
A sign in support of local liquor stores (credit: CBS)

"It would certainly dent my business," Vaugh said. "There are a lot of mom and pop stores that are right next to grocery stores, fortunately, I'm not right next to one."

Colorado craft brewers seem to not be in favor as well, opposing the move. Your Choice insists that more competition in the market is good for Colorado's economy.

Grayson Robinson Your Choice Colorado
Grayson Robinson (credit: CBS)

Former Arapahoe County Commissioner John Brackney supports Your Choice, along with former Sheriff Grayson Robinson.

"Please don't be misled by the folks who will tell you that this will be damaging to our economy," Brackney said.

He says there are 78 liquor stores within two miles of the Glendale King Soopers, which sells full-strength beer and wine, at 4600 Leetsdale Drive.

Your Choice Colorado says the consumer will experience 18 percent lower liquor prices on average if full-strength beer and wine is sold in all grocery stores.

LINKS: Your Choice Colorado | Keep Colorado Local

Jennifer Brice is a reporter with CBS4 focusing on crime and courts. Follow her on Twitter @CBS4Jenn.


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