Grocery stores essentially are one-stop shops, aren't they?

At pretty much every and any grocery store, you can buy things to eat, things to drink, toiletries, storage products, medications/vitamins, and countless other miscellaneous items.

In Colorado, however, there's one product you still can't buy in grocery stores - yet, that is.

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Do you think Colorado grocery stores should be allowed to sell wine?

If so you might be in luck, and sooner than you think.

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As initially reported by the Denver Business Journal, a coalition led by Colorado’s largest grocery stores submitted a pair of ballot initiatives on Thursday, Feb.17 that would allow grocery stores across the state to sell wine alongside an extensive full-strength beer selection that's been available in grocery store aisles across Colorado since early 2019. 

Of the two initiatives, only one is expected to land on the November ballot - and it's expected to cause controversy, much like the last major change to state alcohol-sale laws was.

In fact, it already has.

“There’s no reason that Colorado can’t modernize its antiquated alcohol laws,” Chris Howes, president of the Colorado Retail Council said in regards to the submitted initiatives, according to the Denver Post.

“We think this will be very popular with the voter.”

Chris Fine, executive director of the Colorado Licensed Beverage Association, on the other hand, worries that wine sales in grocery stores would come at the expense of mom-and-pop liquor stores that have already suffered due to recent changes to distribution laws around full-strength beer.

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“I get convenience,” Fine said. “But I don’t get convenience when it comes at the price of shifting profits from small Colorado companies to a large out-of-state organization that doesn’t care anything about Colorado.”

The last time a proposed initiative surrounding alcohol sales was introduced was back in 2016; a proposed ballot initiative to open up full-strength beer sales to grocery store chains turned into a phased-in compromise bill that was passed by the legislature, which ultimately led to full-strength beer sales in grocery stores in 2019. 

As a result, some liquor stores in Colorado have taken major revenue hits - some by 30% or more. Fine says that losing a chunk of wine sales would cut into those lost profits even further, and likely shutter some shops across the state.

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“This will have a dire effect on the small mom and pop, local liquor store,” Fine said, as per the Denver Post.

“Will some of them survive it? Absolutely. Will some of them not survive it? Yes.”

The Denver Business Journal, along with multiple other sources says the state has until March 23 to accept the ballot language.

Backers will need to seek 124,632 valid signatures and choose which one of the two very similar proposals to move forward with, for voters to ultimately consider on the ballot this November.

Would you be for or against wine sales in Colorado grocery stores? Sound off with your thoughts about the initiative on our free app!

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