The Office of the Indiana Attorney General has filed an answer to a lawsuit challenging the state’s laws and regulations that keep gas stations and grocery stores from selling cold beer.
In a complaint filed in May, the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, along with a handful of convenience stores and a consumer, charged the state’s regulations that prevent them from selling refrigerated beer violate their rights guaranteed by the U.S. and Indiana constitutions.
The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Magistrate Judge Debra McVicker Lynch is presiding over the case.
The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission; Alex Huskey, chairman of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission; and the state of Indiana were all named as defendants.
As part of their answer, the defendants denied the allegations and countered that they have not violated the plaintiffs’ rights secured under the Constitution or laws of the United States and the state of Indiana. Moreover, they asserted the plaintiffs’ claims under state and federal law are barred by sovereign immunity and the 11th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The defendants conclude by asking the court to enter a judgment in their favor.
Currently, Indiana statute only allows package liquor stores to sell cold beer. Convenience store owners have tried several times to convince the Indiana General Assembly to rewrite state law, but the Legislature has resisted.
Liquor stores maintain their business will be devastated and minors will have easier access to alcohol if convenience stores are allowed to sell cold beer.