Court upholds Indiana law limiting chilled beer sales

Staff Report
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – Chilled beer won’t be sold at Hoosier grocery stores, convenience stores or big-box stores anytime soon.

“Unfortunately, Hoosiers are left with no choice but to patronize liquor stores to purchase their cold beer,” Scot Imus, executive director of Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, said in a statement. “We initiated this legal action in the hopes of breaking this unjustifiable state-created monopoly and freeing consumers from having to pay surcharges just for the privilege of buying their beer cold.”

Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association had challenged the law that reserves the sale of chilled beer for liquor stores in the state. The group aimed to invalidate the law and make chilled beer available in a wider range of stores.

Monday’s 3-0 ruling by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago means the state won’t see any changes in the way alcohol sales are handled.

“The 7th Circuit’s reasoning was that the rules of the State under the 21st Amendment to the Constitution are a unique grant of authority, where the state legislature has nearly sole powers in areas of regulation over the transportation and importation of alcohol within the state,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement. “My office successfully defended the authority of our state from the legal challenge and we continue to maintain that the correct place to debate any changes to Indiana’s alcohol laws should be the legislature not the courtroom.”

Imus said the group would now focus on the upcoming session.

“Our attention returns to the General Assembly where we will appeal to the free market sensibilities of legislators by urging them to stand up to the special interest liquor store lobby and modernize the state’s arcane alcohol beverage laws,” Imus said in a statement.

The 2016 session begins Jan 5.

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