Gov. Holcomb signs measure closing cold beer loophole

Indiana lawmakers are drafting legislation that would prevent stores from selling cold beer. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed into law legislation closing the legal loophole used by the Ricker’s convenience store chain to sell cold beer.

He said in a statement Tuesday that he signs the measure with an understanding that the state’s alcohol laws need review and “common-sense changes.”

Convenience stores in Indiana are allowed to sell warm beer and cold wine, but not cold beer. Jay Ricker, head of the chain, had obtained permits allowing cold beer sales at two locations after installing seating and serving made-to-order food.

The bill lawmakers passed this session requires that 60 percent of alcohol sales be for on-site drinking in order for permits to be renewed.

It exempts fraternal clubs, golf courses and marinas, among other businesses. It does not exempt Ricker’s.

The Chairman of Ricker’s, Jay Ricker, released a statement:

While we believe this bill merited a veto, we are heartened by Governor Holcomb’s statement that Indiana’s ridiculous and restrictive liquor laws need a common sense review. Throughout this year’s legislative session, Ricker’s has been targeted by anti-free market forces whose sole objective is to limit the choices of Hoosier consumers. We never stopped fighting them and their powerful interests, and with public sentiment clearly on our side, we will continue this fight back in our communities and into next year’s legislative session.