By Melissa Garcia

DENVER (CBS4) – Supermarkets across Colorado are phasing out 3.2 beer in preparation to start selling full-strength beer. A change in state law takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

(credit: CBS)

Grocers and convenience stores will start selling full-strength brews at the start of the new year.

Previously, those wanting to buy anything stronger than beer containing 3.2 percent alcohol needed to make that purchase at a liquor store. Colorado liquor stores, however, will soon face a little steeper competition.

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King Soopers on Federal Boulevard and Belleview Avenue in Englewood was working to install piping to accommodate two new, large coolers that will hold the new product.

Many customers are looking forward to grocers’ addition of the full-strength beverages.

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“I think it’s a great idea because then you get one-stop shopping,” said Mary Young a customer at King Soopers.

“Pure convenience,” said Victoria Parker, a customer at Argonaut Wine & Liquor.

Grocery stores in most other states have already been selling full-strength beer for years.

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“There’s never been a problem in Wisconsin,” said Patrick Benson, a Colorado transplant. “I’ll be at the next grocery store.”

Not everyone is happy about the upcoming change.

“It’s certainly not going to help us,” said Alec Wilkening, who works at Thorobred Liquors which neighbors the King Soopers in Englewood.

“It really (will) hurt small businesses when you get down to it. A lot of the (liquor) stores are family-owned and operated.”

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Wilkening estimated that beer makes up more than 30 percent of Thorobred’s sales. Hard alcohol and wine, however, will still be available for purchase at liquor stores. The new law also allows liquor stores to sell more food as long as it remains 20 percent or less of their total sales.

Additionally, customers wanting specific types of brews or specialty selections might only find them at the liquor store.

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“Our selection, we have 15,000 items in this store. An average grocery store or convenient store might have 1,000,” said Ron Vaughn, owner of Argonaut Wine & Liquor.

A King Soopers spokesperson released the below information:

Our customers have asked for a one stop shopping experience, and this will give them that convenience they are looking for. At King Soopers we have a proven track record of selling age restrictive products responsibly and our teams look forward to continuing this responsibility. You may have noticed expanded refrigeration sets in your stores with cold soda and sparkling water and thought that was strange…well those are the spaces that will have the great selection of full strength beer and local offerings starting January 1. Each stores selection will reflect the unique neighborhoods and their buying preferences.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.

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