Categorized under: beer laws, press release

BEER LAW: Latest update on Colorado Grocery Store Liquor Law – HB 1279

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New Fair, Common Sense Approach to Colorado’s Liquor Laws
House Bill 1279 would enable liquor stores to sell to their businesses to grocers

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DENVER—A bill was introduced in the Colorado State Legislature on February 5th that would allow some neighborhood grocery stores to sell beer, wine and spirits by purchasing a retail liquor license and the business from an existing liquor store.

The primary sponsor of House Bill 1279 is Representative Liane “Buffie” McFadyen (D-Pueblo West), Speaker Pro Tempore of the House. Assistant Minority Leader Representative David Balmer (R-Aurora), Representative Edward Casso (D-Commerce City), and Representative Jack Pommer (D-Boulder) are co-sponsors. The primary Senate sponsor is Majority Caucus Chair Senator Suzanne Williams (D-Aurora).

Rep. McFadyen explained, “Colorado customers will see increased convenience as a result of this legislation, benefiting from one-stop shopping while continuing to enjoy a broad selection of beer, wine and spirits at their choice of liquor retailers.”

Under the proposal, individual liquor store owners will have the freedom to continue to operate their stores or to negotiate with grocery stores to sell their business. The proposal makes liquor licenses more valuable to those who have them and provides reasonable protection against competition for retail liquor store owners.

Negotiations between liquor stores and grocery stores will determine the fair value of a liquor license while local governments will maintain their authority to approve the transfer of any license.

The legislation includes reasonable protections for liquor store owners to prevent grocery stores from competing with nearby “on the property” retail liquor stores. Grocery stores would not be able to purchase a liquor license within the licensing jurisdiction if an existing retail liquor store is within 1,000 feet of the grocery store.

“This proposal protects small businesses because individual liquor stores can either choose to sell their business to their neighborhood grocery store or choose to maintain to current status quo without new competitors,” said Diane Mulligan, spokesperson for Fair Markets Colorado, a coalition that supports House Bill 1279.

State and local government would remain involved with the liquor license approval and enforcement process in the same manner as today. The transfer would be subject to a new transfer and application fee ($3,000 to the state and $3,000 to the local authority) to the state and local jurisdiction granting approval. These fees will create new revenue for state and local government for either the administration and enforcement costs or some other designated program.

House Bill 1279 is expected to be heard by the House Business Affairs and Labor committee later this month.


Fair Markets Colorado is a coalition of Coloradans who support the new, common sense bill that would allow some grocery stores to sell liquor by purchasing a retail liquor license from an existing liquor stores. This is a safe, convenient, and free-market approach to the retail sale of liquor in Colorado. For more information, please visit

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