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Lawsuit: Indiana convenience stores should be able to sell cold beer

May 14, 2013|By James Fillmore (jfillmore@wsbt.com) | WSBT-TV

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY-- Convenience stores in Indiana are going to court over the right to sell cold beer. 

It's a federal lawsuit against the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. 

Store owners are accusing the commission of violating their constitutional rights with a rule that allows the sale of warm beer but not cold beer.

In addition to convenience stores, the suit also specifies that grocery stores and pharmacies should be allowed to sell cold beer in Indiana.

The manager of the One Stop Route 66 gas station and convenience store in Mishawaka says they are struggling, and being able to sell cold beer would be a huge help.   

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Right now, they sell about $5,000 worth of warm beer, but the manager estimates that number could quadruple if they were able to sell cold beer.   

He adds that customers complain all the time about not being able to buy cold beer and are confused about why convenience stores are allowed to sell cold wine but not beer.    

The manager of a liquor store we spoke to argues that it would hurt their business big time.    

They already have trouble competing with grocery stores and can't afford to lose business.   

Liquor stores have to pay an annual fee for their licenses, and they also have to meet certain standards.    

The manager of City-Wide Liquors in Mishawaka is concerned that opening up cold beer sales to convenience and other stores might increase underage drinking.   

Indiana Senator John Broden says this issue has been discussed in the General Assembly. 

Broden himself has expressed concern over convenience stores being able to sell cold beer.

He says, "Certainly when you think of the foot traffic that you see at a convenience store, it's much much different than the foot traffic you see at a liquor store. There are a lot of children."

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