Just when some Hoosiers thought they would be able to grab a cold beer at their local grocery, a federal judge canned the idea.
The timing of the decision came as Indiana was ready for a heat wave and the Fourth of July was around the corner.
Quenching thirsts aside, federal Judge Richard L. Young ruled that the state has legitimately drawn a line in allowing only liquor stores to sell cold beer.
Don’t blame the judge. Indiana’s archaic law allows cold beer to be sold in liquor stores, taverns and restaurants. Young agreed that the law was written with the intent that it would be tougher to enforce liquor laws because minors would have more access to cold beer.
The case was filed by the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, which wants its members to be on equal footing with those establishments that can sell cold brew.
The ruling fell right into the tight grip that the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers has on legislators. And that’s where the ban needs to be taken.
Indiana, it has been argued, is the only state that allows drug and grocery stores to sell warm beer but not cold beer. Allowing grocery stores to sell cold beer will bring in stronger competition for sales and perhaps price wars. That’s acceptable to Hoosiers who want consumers to be able to decide what they will or will not buy.
But the average consumer is left out of this battle. But by the time legislators listen to their constituents, and not the lobbyists, Hoosiers can drive to neighboring Ohio for a cold brew.
To read a recent Herald Bulletin news article about Indiana's cold beer law, visit heraldbulletin.com and search for "cold beer."