Court Denies Liquor Store Chain the Right to Intervene in Indiana Cold Beer Case

Here’s another update on the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association v. the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission case we’ve been following.  In case you don’t recall.  In Indiana, grocery stores and convenience stores can sell everything liquor stores can except cold beer.  A group of convenience stores and grocery stores brought suit against the state challenging this restriction claiming it was unconstitutional for several reasons.  You can read our previous posts on the case here, and here.  The case involves another of the recent challenges to differing state liquor control laws that favor one form of business over another on the basis that the state’s restriction or favoritism has no rational basis.

The proprietor of a chain of liquor stores, in the Indianapolis area, 21stAmendment, Inc., sought to intervene in the case to defend the constitutionality of the law and wanted to file a lawsuit against Indiana arguing that if the court did grant relief to the grocery and convenience stores, it would have to declare Indiana’s statutory scheme for liquor regulation unconstitutional unless it forced grocery stores and convenience stores to undergo some of the restrictions that liquor stores are saddled with (e.g.,  all employees must be over 21, no one on the premises can be under 21, the businesses cannot be open on Sundays). 

Both the state and the grocery and convenience store associations opposed 21st Amendment’s request to intervene and the Court agreed finding that the opposition to the challenged constitutionality was adequately represented by the State and that the addition of another defendant would needlessly complicate the action.  The Court did not preclude the option that 21st Amendment might be allowed to file an amicus brief during summary judgment.