Ricker hands out free food to fight cold-beer ban

By Dustin Beach

 INDIANAPOLIS – The owner of Ricker’s gas stations has responded to legislation that would limit his ability to sell cold beer at two sites by handing out free food and blasting lawmakers.

“I believe that we’re being singled out here,” said Jay Ricker, head of the chain of convenience stores that bears his name.

Ricker was responding to language inserted into alcohol-related bills which would allow his company to continue to sell cold carry-out liquor until the current permit runs out, and then force him to obtain a new one. The new law would also require a store to have 30 percent of its alcohol sales on-site before being permitted to sell carryout liquor.

Jay Ricker, owner of Ricker’s convenience stores, addressed current Indiana alcohol laws. Photo by Dustin Beach, TheStatehouseFile.com

Indiana law currently prohibits cold carry-out sales in stores like Ricker’s. However, two Ricker’s locations have been granted a restaurant license because they have begun to sell made-to-order burritos on site.

“We followed the law in getting our two licenses,” Ricker said at a press event at the Statehouse Tuesday.

Ricker also took issue with those questioning the authenticity of his two restaurants.

“Somebody characterized as twenty-five folding chairs, some folding tables and a microwave, that’s not what we’ve got,” he said. Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, R-Fort Wayne, made that statement last week.

To further prove his point, Ricker brought his company food truck to the Statehouse and distributed free burritos for lunch.

Ricker was joined by Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, in arguing against the proposed legislation.

“Indiana is the only state in the nation that regulates the temperature of beer at any of their facilities when their selling it,” said Boots.

Boots also noted people have taken issue with beer being sold at the same place where gas is sold.

“Often times when I talk to some of the individuals who have an issue with this, they say you shouldn’t buy beer at the same place where you buy gasoline because you could buy gasoline and drive away,” he said.

Both the House and the Senate currently have language which would restrict cold alcohol sales. Those bills will be heard in the respective chambers in the coming days.

Dustin Beach is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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