On Tuesday, the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (IPCA) announced it has filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit and that it has filed a lawsuit in Marion County.
The appeal argues that there is “no rational basis to allow liquor stores to hold a monopoly on cold beer, particularly when their compliance rate with Indiana alcohol laws is so poor.” The lawsuit contends Indiana’s alcohol law regarding cold beer violates the state constitution.
“Our members and the public understand Indiana’s alcohol laws lack common-sense and we are asking the state and federal courts to put an end to this,” said IPCA Executive Director Scot Imus. “It is clear the monopoly liquor stores have limits consumer choice and hurts the growth of our state’s economy.”
Current state law allows convenience stores, grocery stores and pharmacies to only sell warm beer. Those establishments are allowed to sell cold wine.
The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers (IABR), which represents liquor store owners, supports the current law claiming that by changing it, many stores would be forced to go out of business. The group contends that grocery, convenience and pharmacy stores don’t have age restrictions on who can enter and their clerks aren’t required to have liquor licenses.
IABR CEO Patrick Tamm issued the following statement regarding Tuesday’s developments:
We are not surprised by the notice to appeal. The plaintiffs have spent a considerable sum of money to bring this challenge and pursue litigation against the state of Indiana. No doubt they will spend a considerably larger sum to pursue any appeals after a definitive ruling by Judge Young. These plaintiffs are large corporate interests with deep pockets and have much to gain in overturning Indiana law – even as they admitted in their own testimony calling their gas stations and convenience stores that sell alcohol “profit centers.”
The Indiana Attorney General has argued that any changes to the law should be made by the General Assembly, not in the courts.