Lawmakers vote to close cold beer “loophole,” send decision to Governor

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.–It’s now up to Governor Eric Holcomb to formally close the so-called “cold beer loophole.”

The State Legislature passed a bill Friday that Jay Ricker, who started selling cold beer carry outs at Ricker’s convenience stores, says he will have to stop sales by April 2018 when his permit runs out.

As the law stands now, gas stations and convenience stores are only allowed to sell warm beer and chilled wine.

However, Ricker’s popular chain “Ricker’s” got around the law by installing seating and fast-service burrito service at two of its convenience stores. By installing the seating and food service, Ricker’s got around the carry-out law and obtained a restaurant classification.

The bill passed Friday, mandates that 60-percent of all alcohol sales under this type of restaurant classification must be for on-site consumption.

If Holcomb approves the measure, Ricker would be allowed to keep his current yearly permit, but only until it expires.

“We kept the status quo for Ricker’s,” said House Speaker Brian Bosma, “we kind of built a fence around them and said you go tthis, you can keep it.”

Bosma added that they’re giving Jay Ricker and his convenience stores a grace period until the general assembly can take a closer look at carry out laws.

Democratic Representative Terri Austin makes lawmakers “look terrible” because it targets one company.

“We’re going to do a deep, deep dive into the alcohol laws in Indiana,” said Sen. David Long, President Pro Tempore of the Indiana Senate, “It’s time to do it, it’s a 90 year old set of laws that just a lot of them don’t make sense in the modern economy.

Republicans vow to take up a complete overhaul of the state’s alcohol laws in the next session, but said it would have been too difficult to try and take that on before the end of session Friday.

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