Ricker’s bring burritos to Statehouse to fight to keep cold beer

Before Indiana lawmakers vote on bills to close a cold beer loophole, a business owner brought the concept to the Statehouse lawn. (WISH photo)

UPDATE: The Alcohol and Tobacco Commission originally reported that 332 businesses were impacted. The actual number is 21. We have corrected the story below.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Before Indiana lawmakers vote on bills to close a cold beer loophole, a business owner brought the concept to the Statehouse lawn.

Neighbors lined a food truck Tuesday to try Ricker’s gas station’s latest creation. After selling burritos out of a truck for more than a year, the chain took the idea to two stores.

But it’s about more than burritos. Ricker’s got a restaurant permit, which allows the chain to sell cold beer.

Some lawmakers disagree. A Senate and House committee passed a bill that would prevent Ricker’s from selling cold beer. Before it gets a chamber vote, its owner, Jay Ricker, brought burritos to the Statehouse.

“As I’m standing here looking up one of the state buildings it says, ‘Indiana. A state that works.’ I don’t know if I would say that today,” Ricker said.

He’s asking lawmakers to drop bills, and study the issue. “If it’s two years so be it. I’m willing to do that, but I think they need to get this fixed,” Ricker said.

House Speaker Brian Bosma agrees with him about the study. The Republican leader brought the alcohol rule book with him to the House Tuesday.

“We’re diving deep on this to try and limit the damage,” House Speaker Bosma said.

Before a decision is made, Speaker Bosma took Ricker up on the burrito. While he saw the restaurant operation Ricker’s offers, he said lawmakers must move forward.

“We won’t necessarily be impacting Jay’s two issued licenses,” House Speaker Bosma said. “There may be some legal issues with that, but we need to take a pause on that until we take a hard look.”

It’s that closer look Ricker hopes will allow customers to order a burrito and cold beer as well. “I want to be able to look at that sign that’s up on the building and go, ‘Indiana, it really is a state that works too,’ Ricker said.

We won’t have to wait long to see what lawmakers do. Both the House and Senate are expected to debate the bills Wednesday, and vote Thursday.

The debate is impacting more than Ricker’s. On Tuesday, the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC) said it’s only granting 90-day extensions to businesses until lawmakers make a decision. Right now, the ATC said 21 businesses were given the 90-day extension.

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