Federal Judge Upholds “Cold Beer Only In Liquor Stores”
June 17, 2014 — TheStatehouseFile.com
INDIANAPOLIS – A U.S. District Court judge has upheld a state law that prohibits convenience stores from selling cold beer to its customers.
But the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association – which brought the suit – said it will continue to fight to change the law. The group did not say specifically whether it would appeal the decision.
“Our members and Hoosiers are disappointed that the court did not rule to end an irrational, discriminatory and outdated law,” said the group’s executive director, Scot Imus said. “There is wide-support to modernize Indiana’s alcohol laws, and we will continue to fight for fairness in the marketplace.”
The court’s decision came after the association filed a complaint in May 2013 saying that Indiana’s alcohol law violated the U.S. Constitution by favoring some retailers over others.
U.S. District Judge Richard Young said in his ruling that the plaintiff’s statistics were “problematic, irrelevant, and misplaced.” He said that a package store faces much stricter regulations than a normal convenience store.
“The state has a legitimate interest in limiting the sale of alcohol and, more to the point, a legitimate interest in curbing the sale of immediately consumable beer to minors,” Young wrote in the ruling.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement that “the statute we successfully defended reflects the current decision of the people’s elected representatives in the legislature. The subject has been debated for many years but the appropriate forum for those who disagree with the state law to advocate for policy changes is in the state legislature not the courts.”
The petroleum marketers and their associates must notify the court of an appeal in the next 30 days.
[Photo of sign courtesy Shutterstock]