By Makenzie O'Keefe

DENVER (CBS4)– With a new year comes new laws and one of the biggest changes in Colorado will be seen on grocery store shelves. Starting Tuesday morning, 3.2 percent beer was removed from the shelves and replaced with full strength beer at supermarkets and convenience stores around the state.

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“I do like a really good craft beer,” said John Black, the first person to buy full-strength beer at a Safeway in Aurora. “I think it’s really cool and convenient that it is available at Safeway.”

Before the sun rose on 2019 Tuesday morning, workers at grocery stores across Colorado began swapping out 3.2 beer for the “full stuff.” Breweries say this is a big step for the industry, for both big and small breweries in the state.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s great for us and it’s great for the consumer, that’s the fine balance,” explained David Coors, the President of AC Golden Brewing Company. ”You want consumers to have access to beer and a wide range of choice. That’s exactly what they are going to have.”

Albertsons and Safeway said before this new law, they were limited on the variety they could shelve at stores. Now, more than 50 local craft breweries will have their products available along with the big breweries.

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“We previously were only able to stock about 13 different varieties,” explained Todd Broderick, the President of the Safeway Denver Division. “And that goes up to 168 varieties today.”

There are some concerns about what this will mean for small businesses and liquor stores. The change is specifically for beer sales, meaning liquor stores still exclusively sell wine and hard alcohol across the state.

Makenzie O'Keefe

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