Two high-profile bills that would change the state’s alcohol laws are in the spotlight Wednesday at the Statehouse. Senate Bill 26, which would extend cold beer carryout sales to grocery, convenience and drug stores is set to go before the Public Policy Committee. Also, House Bill 1051 received approval Wednesday morning from the House Public Policy Committee. It involves Sunday carryout sales from noon-8 p.m. in package liquor, grocery, convenience and drugs stores, as well as some restaurants.
The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers has supported the move along with the Indiana Retail Council. Senate Bill 1, which mirrors HB 1051, cleared the Senate Public Policy Committee last week and is awaiting discussion by the full Senate.
The 17-member Alcohol Code Revision Commission met before the start of the 2018 Legislative Session and recommended legislators approve Sunday sales, but did not recommend expanding cold beer sales.
Senate Public Policy Committee Chairman Ron Alting (R-22) says he will give SB 26 "a fair hearing," which none of his predecessors in the role would do. Cold beer can currently only be sold primarily in package liquor stores. "Recognizing that it is time to reevaluate Indiana’s alcohol code, I have decided to hear testimony on expanding the sale of cold beer in the Public Policy Committee for the first time ever," Alting said. "I know, however, that not everyone shares my concerns regarding this expansion. In an attempt to balance my personal views, the views of my constituents and the best interest of the state, I believe that holding a hearing on this issue is now appropriate."
Sunday sales is among the legislative priorities of the Indiana House, but expanded cold beer sales is not.