Sunday liquor sales law may apply only to resort towns
DENVER – Liquor store owner Tesfa Measho works 14-hour days, six days a week. But when Sunday rolls around the Eritrean immigrant said he looks forward to spending time with his four children and visiting friends and relatives in his close knit community.Measho isn’t interested in being allowed to do business on Sunday but he said he would have to if state lawmakers roll back a 1933 law outlawing liquor sales on that day.”No one forces me to stay open until midnight but I have to compete,” said Measho, who owns East Bridge Discount Liquor in Brighton.Facing opposition from Measho and other Front Range liquor store owners, Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, asked lawmakers Monday to give her more time to work on a bill allowing local governments to decide whether to allow Sunday liquor sales.Veiga said opposition to the change is stronger in metro Denver than it is in the rest of the state. She said she’s willing to change the bill so that only counties with less 100,000 people and ski resorts are affected.The national trade group for alcohol manufacturers and marketers, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, backs the change, as do some liquor store owners in resort towns. There are 32 states that allow liquor sales on Sunday, including 11 that have changed their laws in the past 2 1/2 years, according to the group. However the measure also faces opposition from beer distributors and small, craft breweries.Some opponents fear it would clear the way for supermarkets and discount retailers like Wal-Mart to sell wine and liquor instead of just low-alcohol beer, putting smaller, independent stores out of business.Doug Odell, co-owner of Odell Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, said small breweries in Colorado have benefited from having so many independent stores willing to take a chance selling their beer. He said there would be less selection if larger outlets are eventually allowed to sell more alcoholic products.”Probably the biggest loser will be the beer consumer because there will be less choice for them in the future,” said Odell, a member of the Colorado Brewers Guild.Veiga said she has no intention of expanding the law to allow supermarkets and others to sell more alcohol but isn’t sure how the legislature could prevent future lawmakers from doing that.
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