David Matovina: Save family-owned liquor stores
Silverthorne, CO Colorado
I am the owner of Blue Valley Liquors located in Silverthorne. I’m also a certified TIPS Instructor for the State of Colorado. I am writing to oppose HB-1192, which is set to be introduced to the Business Affairs Committee, allowing full-strength beer into grocery and convenience stores. This bill would have damaging effects to Colorado as a whole.
This bill will cause unemployment to rise across the whole state. Colorado has over 100 craft breweries, craft distillers and an ever-growing wine industry. They all rely on Colorado’s family-owned liquor stores to sell their products. Grocery stores will only carry the top-15 selling products. Selection would be very limited. Meaning that these Colorado made products will not have a shelf space. This bill will force hundreds of local liquor stores out of business and destroy the only sales channel that Colorado craft beer, wine, and spirits have to sell their product.
As a TIPS Instructor for the state, I train employees of businesses that sell and serve alcohol. My experience with training staffs of convenience stores is that the sales clerk doesn’t understand the liability or responsibility of selling to underage or intoxicated person. The most common questions I am asked: Why do I need to be trained? Who cares, its only 3.2 beer? To make them understand their responsibility, I tell them that they could be fined $200-$5,000 if they make an illegal sale. This presents a greater risk to the public when you have a sales clerk that takes NO responsibility for whom they sell the product to. Whereas liquor store clerks and owners are better trained and know the laws governing the selling and serving of alcohol in a responsible way.
According to the Dept. of Revenue, 3.2 beer was declining long before Sunday sales ever went into effect. Part of the decline in 3.2 sales has been self-inflicted by convenience stores choosing to cut 3.2 beer shelf space in favor of higher margin beverages such as energy drinks. Grocery stores sell about 80 percent of 3.2 beer in Colorado compared to 20 percent sold by convenience stores. Those 3.2 sales represent less than 1 percent of total grocery stores sales. So their argument of loosing thousand of dollars in sales is a very weak one at best.
The bottom line is you don’t fix something that isn’t broken. The liquor laws are fine the way they are.
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