Convenience stores ask to sell full-strength beer |

Convenience stores ask to sell full-strength beer

DENVER – A bill to allow convenience stores to sell full-strength beer got initial approval despite opposition from a coalition of liquor store owners and craft breweries.

A Colorado House committee passed the bill Wednesday on a 7-4 vote. It now goes to a full House vote.

The bill would give convenience stores the ability to sell full-strength beer. Convenience stores say they have been losing money on 3.2 sales now that liquor stores that sell full-strength beer can stay open on Sundays.

Convenience stores and supermarkets once fought together for the right to sell more than 3.2 percent alcohol beer but this time they’re going it alone.

Supermarkets want to be able to buy out the licenses of some liquor stores so they can sell full-strength beer, wine and liquor.

A coalition of liquor store owners and craft brewers rallied at the Capitol ahead of the hearing to oppose both proposals. Liquor store owners say it’s not fair to compare them with convenience store operators, who can own a string of stores and might be able to undercut liquor store prices.

Some of Colorado’s smaller, craft breweries don’t think there will be room for them on the shelves of convenience stores and supermarkets. However, 7-Eleven says it sells some Colorado beers in its stores in other states and would do so here, too, if allowed.

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