February 20, 2013

Liquor Law for Grocery Stores Battle Continues

The battle by grocery stores in Kentucky to sell liquor and wine has ramped up, as some stores have resorted to sending out fliers to their customers in order to sway them to support the initiative.

After ruling that laws in Kentucky forbidding grocery stores to sell wine in liquor are unconstitutional, U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II of Louisville suspended his ruling temporarily in order for lawmakers to have time to resolve the issue.

According to Heyburn's ruling, state law "violates the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection Clause in that it prohibits certain grocery stores, gas stations and others ... from obtaining a license to sell package liquor and wine."

The existing law states that in counties where alcohol sales are legal beer can be sold out of the grocery stores, but not alcohol or wine. If a separate entrance to a specific part of the stores is provided, the grocery stores can sell liquor or wine, as long as minors aren't allowed to work in that area.

Opposition to allowing grocery stores to sell wine and liquor comes from a recently formed group called Fighting Alcohol Consumption by Teens, or FACT. Its major concerns are that alcohol and wine should be allowed to be sold in stores that allow teens and younger children in them.

Another concern raised by the group is that smaller mom-and-pop liquor stores would struggle to survive when competing against the larger grocery stores.

Bill 310 has passed the House Licensing and Occupations Committee and now goes to the House for further action.

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