Convenience beer bill dies after support erodes

Realizing that she lost whatever support she once had on her measure to allow convenience stores to sell full-strength beer, Sen. Betty Boyd killed her own bill Tuesday.

The Lakewood Democrat said support quickly eroded after she introduced the measure in March, saying she thought then she had more than enough support.

“Members, at least a month and a half ago you’ll recall that I came around and polled you,” Boyd told the 34 other senators when her bill came up for debate before the full Senate. “We’ve had beer discussions down here before. I asked the Senate how they felt about the various permutations of the bill that could be introduced. At that time, my polling showed me there was enough support. Well, apparently over time, for whatever reason, those votes have eroded.”

Part of that erosion came from liquor stores around the state that oppose it. They were joined by some heavy lobbying from the state’s craft brewers, who feared the convenience stores wouldn’t have room to carry their products. It also didn’t hurt the craft brewers’ efforts to remind lawmakers that Gov. John Hickenlooper is a former craft brewer.

The Colorado Licensed Beverage Association also heavily lobbied lawmakers against the measure, which helped get two-thirds of the House earlier this month to kill a similar bill that would have allowed grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer.

Those lobbyists say efforts to expand where beer is sold is primarily being pushed by out-of-state corporations that own most of the grocery and convenience stores in Colorado.

“After four years of overwhelming opposition to out-of-state interests’ attempts to hurt Colorado small businesses, it’s time to put this issue out of its misery,” said Jeanne McEvoy, beverage association president. “These bills will kill jobs, send money out of Colorado and allow minors to sell alcohol at convenience stores. It’s time for convenience stores and grocery stores to get the message and leave local Colorado (liquor stores) alone.”



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