Politics

An Indiana Senate committee has overwhelmingly voted down legislation that would have allowed grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations to sell cold beer.

Indiana is the only state that regulates the temperature at which beer is sold.

Grocery and convenience stores and pharmacies can sell cold wine and warm beer. But the sale of carryout cold beer is primarily limited to liquor stores, whose owners say expanded cold beer sales would force many out of business.

Now, the 9-1 vote against the measure by the Senate Public Policy Committee all but dooms the effort during this year’s legislative session.

Those supporting the change, like Tony Carf with Speedway convenience stores lampooned Indiana for being behind the times, and urged lawmakers to let the bill advance.

“Speedway feels that allowing convenience stores to sell cold beer in the state of Indiana should be voted on in by the full Senate,” Carf said. “Our customers want cold beer.”

But Kokomo Police Officer Kevin Summers told lawmakers that expanding cold beer sales would cause more alcohol-related problems such as underage drinking and drunk driving.

“Expanding access to alcohol for immediate consumption like cold beer at gas stations and convenience stores is a bad public policy,” he said. “It is driven by profit-seeking CEOs and lobbyists that want to put our streets and communities at risk just to increase the bottom line.”

Meanwhile, a House committee voted 12-1 to support lifting Indiana’s decades-old ban on Sunday carryout alcohol sales. A similar bill is moving through the Senate.

Rick Howlett is WFPL's Broadcast Managing Editor and also produces feature and general assignment radio stories.