Colorado

Colorado Prop. 124, 125, and 126 on alcohol sales: 1-minute voter guide

Illustration of a white podium that transforms into a voting booth and then three campaign signs, over a divided red and blue background.

Image: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Three questions on the 2022 vote propose dramatic changes to the state’s liquor laws.

Why it matters: Efforts in recent years to win support from the state legislature have failed, so proponents are spending heavily to introduce them to voters this November.

What you should know: The polling issues are being driven primarily by liquor suppliers — pumping big bucks in — to expand sales beyond Colorado’s restrictive laws that limit the number of liquor stores and where alcohol can be sold.

1) Clause 124 allows liquor chains to add more locations, up to eight in 2026 and gradually increasing to an unlimited number beginning in 2037. Now they are limited to a maximum of four locations until 2031.

  • Flashback: Before a law change in 2017, each liquor store owner could only have one location, and restrictions on location applied.

What you say: Proponents say the measure brings parity because grocery chains can have more affiliated liquor stores than other retailers.

The other side: Opponents – namely independent liquor stores credited with helping build the state’s craft beer and liquor scene – say it would put corner shops out of business because they don’t have the opportunity to expand .

2) sentence 125 meets a popular consumer complaint: the lack of wine sales in grocery stores.

What you should know: It would allow the 1,819 locations that sell beer — particularly grocery and convenience stores — to sell wine and related beverages and hold tastings from March 2023.

  • The sale is limited to 8 a.m. to midnight.

What you say: Proponents argue that this would make it easier for consumers to buy what they want on a trip.

The other side: The independent liquor stores, which are now suppliers of wine – due to the legal restrictions in place – say it would hurt their business.

3) Clause 126: Who is allowed to sell and deliver alcohol would change with this election question.

  • The measure allows third-party companies like Drizzly to ship alcohol from liquor, grocery and convenience stores, bars, restaurants and similar businesses. At the moment it is limited to the employees of the individual company.
  • It would also make permanent the current ability – due to expire in 2025 – for bars and restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages for take-away and delivery.

The other side: Opponents – namely the current alcohol dealers – argue that current age verification safeguards in physical stores will be lifted.

  • And it cuts into their sales. The switch to selling beer in grocery stores caused sales to drop about 30%, they say.

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