Colorado Beer Change Initiative Won’t Be On 2016 Ballot

We wanted to post an update to the beer news we shared back in May about the ongoing battle to bring full-strength beer to Colorado grocery stores.

The Debate Over Grocery Stores Selling Full-Strength Beer

Currently, Colorado grocers are only able to sell 3.2% ABV beer. As you can imagine, it doesn’t exactly fly off the shelves. Whether or not to lift that law has been debated in Colorado for years. However this year the subject really started to pick up steam, and it seemed that voters would have to make a tough decision. Your Choice Colorado became the battle cry for everyone who wanted to buy a full-strength sixer at their local King Soopers. Meanwhile, most liquor stores and craft breweries advised us to Keep Colorado Local or their businesses would suffer.

Just when it seemed we would have to pick one side or another, a compromise was made. On the last day of their session in May, the Colorado General Assembly passed Senate Bill 197. This bill approved the expansion of full-strength alcohol to Colorado grocery stores slowly over a 20 year period. After much consideration, Governor Hickenlooper gave his signature to Senate Bill 197 in mid-June. It seemed like a good compromise bill, and almost everybody was happy.


At the time it was first approved by the House, representatives from King Soopers and Safeway released statements saying Senate Bill 197 was too restrictive. Not only was the roll-out too slow, but they were not fans of the requirement that they buy licenses by buying them out from nearby liquor stores. Despite the bill, they said they would proceed with their initiative to let voters decide on lifting all restrictions.

However, late last week the Your Choice Colorado campaign announced they had a change of heart. They are not proceeding with their ballot initiative. It seems the slow and steady method has officially, once again, won the race.

From the Your Choice Colorado official statement: “With the legislation now in affect, we are working diligently to figure out how this law will impact both Coloradans and grocery stores,” said Your Choice Colorado Campaign Manager, Georgie Aguirre-Sacasa. “While the bill isn’t perfect and we continue to believe that Coloradans deserve better, it does change the old status quo and will allow people more access to the Colorado craft beer and wine that they love.”

In an already contentious election year, we’re just happy we have one less tough decision to make.