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Liquor Law

Daria Serna of Colorado Department of Revenue   on   April 02, 2015

The law requires not only separate ownership but a separate entrance (for non-members) and a separate checkout counter, according to Daria Serna of the Colorado Department of Revenue.

It’s worth it to gargantuan membership stores to lease space to outsiders. Apparently that’s not the case for ordinary supermarkets like King Soopers and Safeway. So far, research has turned up only one non-membership grocery store with an in-house liquor store not owned by the corporation. Called Alpine Wine & Spirits, it’s located in the City Market (a sister chain to King Soopers) at Vail.

There’s a lot of competition for limited shelf space in grocery stores. The older, smaller ones are especially hard-pressed to make the room needed for regular groceries and household-related merchandise. The newer ones are larger but even they are reluctant to lease space out to a separately owned liquor store.

Most supermarkets are in shopping malls where there already is a separate liquor store. Obviously the bean counters have figured out that, with competition nearby, a liquor lease would not bring in as much income per square foot as direct sales of groceries would.

A group called Colorado Consumers for Choice, backed by the supermarkets, is working up an initiative for the 2016 ballot that would permit all groceries to sell wine, beer and, possibly, stronger liquors. The draft hasn’t been finalized yet and would need to clear its effort with the Title Board and the Colorado Supreme Court, before signatures are gathered.

If voters approve the initiative, we’ll soon find out whether supermarkets can suddenly find space for wine, beer etc. in their existing box stores, or whether they spend a lot of money to expand them.

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