Though the Colorado legislature killed a bill last week allowing convenience stores and gas stations to sell full strength beer, Congress will consider a bill permitting groceries stores to do so later this month.
The decision to kill last weekâ€™s bill, House Bill 1186, was a victory for local liquor storeowners, but the fight isnâ€™t over as they face a potential loss of business to grocery stores.
Matt Dinsmore, owner of Wilburâ€™s Total Beverage, located on South College Avenue, is thankful that last weekâ€™s bill did not pass. It was shot down 8-3.
â€œWe have one cash flow and one cash stream, and thatâ€™s it,â€ Dinsmore said. Unlike a 7-Eleven, which can sell everything from firewood and gasoline to Slurpees and condoms, Wilburâ€™s has one product to sell to make a profit.
â€œYouâ€™re trying to transfer our one income stream to your large income stream,â€ he said. â€œThis is our livelihood.â€
Wilburâ€™s provides jobs to about 40 employees and donates about $60,000 to charities each year, Dinsmore said. Wilburâ€™s Total Beverage has been profitable, supporting three generations of Dinsmoreâ€™s family thus far.
Colorado is currently one of six states in the U.S. including Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma and Utah, that restrict convenience stores to the sale of 3.2 percent beer.
Amber Jaquez, an employee at the 7-Eleven at the intersection of Shields and Mulberry Streets, said she understands the reasons for the billâ€™s failure.
â€œI think itâ€™s OK, because I think if we sold beer, we would outsell liquor stores since most of them are individually owned and not part of a big chain.â€
Tyler Tripp, a senior journalism major, said he disagrees with the recent killing of HB 1186.
â€œSince liquor stores are open on Sundays, now I think itâ€™s dumb that all stores canâ€™t sell full strength beer,â€ he said. â€œThey should be able to â€” to give them a chance to compete with liquor stores in alcohol sales.â€
For Dinsmore, however, the change could close the doors of a business that has supported his family for three generations.
â€œWe donâ€™t want to give it up,â€ he said. â€œWithout it weâ€™re done.â€
After several attempts, Fort Collins employees of King Soopers, Whole Foods Market, and Safeway were not willing to comment on this upcoming legislation.
Staff Writer Katelyn McNamara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.