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Lawmaker Wants Craft Beer In Grocery, Convenience Stores

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – There may soon be a wider selection of beer at grocery and convenience stores in Colorado.

A Colorado lawmaker wants grocers to be able to sell craft brews, but not everyone thinks it will help business as some craft brewers do not want the law to pass.

Renegade Brewing on 9th and Santa Fe in Denver is among the craft brewers that don’t want the bill to pass. They’ve been in business just over a year and sells three different beers in 80 liquor stores across the Front Range.

Renegade Brewing owner Brian O’Connell said small brewers would see their access to markets shrink if the proposed legislation passes. He said the main reason the craft beer industry is growing in Colorado is because startup brewers can walk into a liquor store and get their product on the shelf.

O’Connell said grocery stores have large volume and insurance requirements that would be hard for small brewers to meet. He also said smaller liquor stores wouldn’t be able to compete with the grocery stores.

“You know you walk into a small liquor store and you see all kinds of different craft beers,” O’Connell said. “A grocery store isn’t going to be able to do that. They’re going to have a small shelf space for a very limited amount of beer. It’s inevitable that if groceries start selling beer, mom and pop shops are going to start going out of business.”

“I find it hard to believe that they would actually lose sales by having more access to markets,” said Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson.

Priola, the sponsor of the bill, said if his legislation passes, the full-strength craft beer could be sold in 2,000 convenient stores and 200 grocery stores in Colorado.

While the bill is packaged differently than the parade of other bill beers attempting to get full-strength beer in Colorado grocery stores, it also bans beer with caffeine.

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