Judge upholds state ban on cold beer sales in grocery, convenience stores

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INDIANAPOLIS (June 17, 2014) – Grocery stores and convenience stores still can’t sell cold beer, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Chief Judge Richard Young upheld the current state law in a ruling handed down Monday afternoon. The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association filed a lawsuit in May 2013 challenging the law, which allows only package liquor stores to sell cold beer. Other stores have to sell it at room temperature.

The groups argued that the law violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by favoring one type of business over another.

The judge said opening up cold beer sales to grocery and convenience stores would increase the number of alcohol sales across the state and make it difficult for Indiana State Excise Police to enforce state liquor laws.

The court dismissed the group’s claim that the law was “arcane” and said the state legislature classifies package liquor stores and grocery and convenience stores differently for a good reason.

“Indiana’s legislative classifications, which serve to limit the outlets for immediately consumable cold beer, is rationally related to the legitimate goals of Indiana’s alcoholic beverage laws; opening this market to others without restriction is not,” the ruling said.

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