Ballot battle over grocery store beer, wine sales averted

July 5, 2016, 10:36 am

A compromise bill to allow the gradual sales of full-strength wine and beer in Colorado grocery stores and avoid a costly ballot initiative battle to speed up the process has served its purpose, with King Soopers and Safeway on Friday dropping their campaign.


Gov. John Hickenlooper

Gov. John Hickenlooper

The group gathering signatures to put the issue to a vote in November, Your Choice Colorado, issued a press release Friday saying that “following Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature of Senate Bill 197 on June 10, the campaign will no longer proceed with ballot initiatives in 2016 to seek real beer and wine sales in grocery stores.”

The group opposing the ballot initiative campaign and backing state Sen. Pat Steadman’s SB197, Keep Colorado Unique, praised the decision by YCC.

“Our primary concern has been to ensure that local businesses and craft producers can still thrive in Colorado. We are pleased that the grocery stores did the right thing,” KCU spokeswoman Jennie Peek-Dunstone said.

“With the withdrawal of their initiative, we can move forward to implement the historic compromise without the cloud of an initiative that as Gov. Hickenlooper said would ‘irreparably harm independent liquor stores and craft producers throughout Colorado.’”

Liquor store owners in Vail and Summit County had voiced their support for SB197, telling that even though the bill gradually allows grocery stores to start selling full-strength beer and wine, it also allows small mom and pop liquor stores to plan for the future without being shut down overnight.

Here’s the full press release from Your Choice Colorado:

Your Choice Colorado to No Longer Proceed with Ballot Initiatives in 2016

DENVER–Your Choice Colorado today announced that following Gov. John Hickenlooper’s signature of Senate Bill 197 on June 10, the campaign will no longer proceed with ballot initiatives in 2016 to seek real beer and wine sales in grocery stores.

“With the legislation now in affect, we are working diligently to figure out how this law will impact both Coloradans and grocery stores,” said Your Choice Colorado Campaign Manager, Georgie Aguirre-Sacasa. “While the bill isn’t perfect and we continue to believe that Coloradans deserve better, it does change the old status quo and will allow people more access to the Colorado craft beer and wine that they love.”

In the nearly nine months Your Choice Colorado was actively working to change Colorado’s antiquated laws, the campaign received broad support from people around the state who wanted to allow sales of full strength beer and wine in neighborhood grocery stores to see more choices about where to buy beer and wine, more Colorado craft beer and wine sales from grocery store shelves, and a positive impact to state’s economy through new grocery store jobs. The campaign collected over 85,000 signatures to put the measure on the ballot.

“Moving forward, Colorado’s grocery stores will continue to sell the products and services that Coloradans want,” said Aguirre-Sacasa. “Thank you to all those who supported changing the law in favor of more shelf space for the Colorado products we love.”

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David O. Williams
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent, Colorado Politics formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington),, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Atlantic Media's (formerly Government Executive State and Local), SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of and

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