Battle between IN liquor and convenience stores over beer sales

GREENDALE, IN (FOX19) - Indiana law states that only liquor stores can sell cold beer. Grocery stores, gas stations and other convince stores can only sell warm beer.

A group that represents such retail stores has filed a lawsuit against the State of Indiana in hopes of selling cold beer, as well.

However, not all liquor store owners agree. Being able to sell cold beer is one of the only advantages for Indiana liquor stores, according to David Lorie, owner of Whitey's Liquor Stores.

"We are not allowed to have anyone under the age of 21 in our stores, and we pay a lot of money for our licenses. They didn't have to. There is no equality at all when it comes to big box stores and convenience compared to liquor stores," argued Lorie.

In fact, liquor stores pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for permits that convenience-type stores don't have to pay. In addition, liquor stores can't sell cold bottled water or snacks and most close on Sundays.

Attorneys for the 21st Amendment filed a motion intervening with the lawsuit filed by the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association.

"We think the attack on Indiana liquor laws is unfair and that retailers are not looking to equalize the law but take advantage," said Attorney Michael Wukmer for 21st Amendment.

Businesses like the Kennett Truck Stop in Greendale, Indiana could benefit from a successful lawsuit.

"I've got two stations, and I'd like to sell beer and wine at both locations," said Kenneth.

Wayne Kennett has owned the truck stop for 53 years and has never sold beer. He says it's because legally, he can't sell it cold, and he supports the effort to get cold beer sales in retail stores.

"You hate to have to go through the courts to force an issue, but if that is your last resort, that's what you have to do," he added.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The court has not yet made a ruling.

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