So I tweeted a link. It got plenty of attention... and it's a fairly divisive issue, which I normally would try and stay away from here at BKB!
Not unlike the conversation over the Rum Subsidies, the debate over Colorado Liquor Laws drives a wedge between otherwise agreeable people.
Colorado is looking at allowing beer and liquor sales in grocery stores and convenience stores. The simple fact is that if you think selling beer in these locations is going to hurt your business, no amount of logic can make it not hurt your business. And I want to start this discussion by saying that I totally respect your point of view if you disagree with me.
I tend to agree with loosening liquor laws. I grew up having to remember to buy beer on Saturday, because you couldn't buy it on Sunday. And when Colorado began talking about removing the antiquated law that restricted alcohol sales on Sundays... WHEW That kettle nearly boiled over!
Mom and Pops stores claimed that it would put them out of business, brewers claimed that without the smaller liquor stores they would never get their products on shelves and they would be forced out of business!
NONE OF THAT HAPPENED! I know plenty of smaller stores that are closed on Sunday, and even more that are open on Sunday and raking in the cash from their sales. It turns out that it's good for business to have your products available for sale. Who Knew?
As far as the small stores benefiting Craft Beer, I don't see how that works. Living in Rural Colorado, all of my craft beer comes from Colorado Springs or Denver. While you might think that Craft Beer grows on trees in Colorado, it's not available in grocery stores or Gas Stations.
We make the 100-120 mile one-way trip every other week or so, and yes.... sometimes it is on a Sunday! But I don't find local craft beer in Mom and Pops liquor stores! I have to go to specialty stores like Coaltrain in Colorado Springs. Or at least the local big box shops like Colorado Liquor Outlet. But if I'm looking for the likes of Lips of Faith or something from the really small Colorado brewers, I need to hit a store like Daveco or Applejack. These mega stores do a great job of keeping local brews available.
The unfortunate thing for the growth of craft beer is that not every casual beer drinker seeks out these large liquor stores. They stop by the grocery store or grab a Six-pack on the way home while they are getting gas!
So when you tell me that having your products available to these people will hurt your business, I tend to be a bit skeptical.
The way I see it, is that craft beer starts showing up in gas stations and grocery stores all over Colorado, and suddenly Craft Beer is in-front of a huge audience that wasn't previously exposed to those brands, and before long, the people start to try it... and some of them like it.... and not long after that, they are telling their friends.... BOOM! Can you say secondary explosion of the Craft Beer Market? Hell, our silly little state could even have the potential to attract a Trader Vic's and we could have watering holes at the Whole Foods like in Ariz.
I hope so!
What do you think?