Cerveza Fria? Zimne Piwo? Grocery Stores challenge Indiana’s restrictions on selling cold beer.
Indiana has a law limiting the sale of cold beer. Under
Indiana Code 7.1-5-10-11, certain permitees allowed to sell beer cannot
sell cold beer:
11. Sale of Cold Beer Prohibited. It is unlawful for the holder of a beer
dealer’s permit to offer or display for sale, or sell, barter, exchange or give
away a bottle, can, container, or package of beer that was iced or cooled by
the permittee before or at the time of the sale, exchange, or gift.
There are exceptions to the rule, but the rule keeps grocery
stores and convenience stores from selling cold beer. Strangely, under Indiana law, grocery stores
can sell cold wine – which often has an alcohol content higher than beer.
The complaint (a full copy with exhibits is here) has an
interesting argument related to craft beer – that because some craft beer manufacturers
require cooling, facilities unable to sell cold beer cannot meet the requirements
or sell the beer and are kept out of the marketplace for craft beer.
The point to this complaint, and the tie-in to one of the
curious themes we’ve seen recently, is that the rational basis argument pops up
here. We saw this recently in the
challenge to Kentucky’s
regulations prohibiting grocery stores and convenience stores from selling
liquor and wine. The broader point
is the recent push to challenge liquor laws alleging they have no rational
basis under the equal protection guaranties of the constitution. As with Kentucky, we will watch the progress
of this suit to see where the Indiana court comes out on the issue.