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Lawmakers craft a deal on beer sales at grocery stores

Author: Colorado Politics - May 10, 2018 - Updated: May 12, 2018

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In this photo taken Wednesday, April 6, 2016, Brett Jones, a sales representative with High Country Beverage, stocks 3.2-percent alcohol content beer at a Safeway store in Fort Collins, Colo. (Valerie Mosley/The Coloradoan via AP)In this photo taken April 6, 2016, Brett Jones, a sales representative with High Country Beverage, stocks 3.2-percent alcohol content beer at a Safeway store in Fort Collins. (Valerie Mosley/The Coloradoan via AP)

Colorado legislators toasted a compromise over beer sales late Wednesday, passing a bill on the final night of their 2018 legislative session.

Grocery and convenience stores, which have only been able to sell low-strength beer for decades, will be allowed to sell full-strength beer starting next January under a 2016 law. Senate Bill 243, adopted on the legislative session’s last day, sets guidelines for those sales.

The final compromise will allow 18- to 21-year-olds to sell beer in those stores, as well as liquor stores, even though Coloradans have to be 21 to buy beer.

SB 243 also requires grocery and convenience stores to use their own employees to deliver beer to customers.

And it sets a 500-foot distance between stores that sell beer and the same distance between stores that sell beer and schools.

The House and Senate both approved the compromise late Wednesday night. The Senate gave its final approval to the bipartisan measure by a 28-7 vote after the House voted 40-24 in favor of a recrafted version.

As Colorado Politics’ Marianne Goodland has reported, the bill has been a political football tossed between big grocery and convenience stores, and small mom-and-pop liquor stores and craft brewers, since its introduction on April 16.

Colorado has limited the ability of all but a handful of grocery and convenience stores to sell anything other than 3.2 percent-alcohol beer since the days of Prohibition. In 2016 lawmakers finally approved a measure that would allow all grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer beginning next year.

> CLICK HERE for Goodland’s report on how the bill evolved leading up to passage.

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics, formerly The Colorado Statesman, is the state's premier political news publication, renowned for its award-winning journalism. The publication is also the oldest political news outlet in the state, in continuous publication since 1898. Colorado Politics covers the stories behind the stories in Colorado's state Capitol and across the Centennial State, focusing on politics, public policy and elections with in-depth reporting on the people behind the campaigns — from grassroots supporters to campaign managers and the candidates and issues themselves.