9NEWS.com Report: Grocery-store beer sales will drive down prices, increase jobs

By Ed Sealover
Denver Business Journal

Allowing Colorado grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer and wine would create 22,000 jobs and save the average household $750 over three years, according to a report Wednesday released by the campaign seeking to expand alcohol sales.
The report was authored by a professor at University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business and promoted by the Your Choice Colorado campaign in favor of expanded beer and wine sales.
It's likely to spark even more debate about a proposed initiative that is set to be one of the most talked-about on the 2016 ballot.
A spokesman for Keep Colorado Local, an opposition campaign led by craft brewers and liquor stores, mocked the conclusions of the study and said that it “appeared to be authored in the creative writing department.”
Jack Strauss, the Miller Chair of Applied Economics for the DU business college, says in the report that limited competition in Colorado has raised prices of beer and wine and repressed the growth of wine and beer outlets.
State law currently allows one license to operate a full-strength liquor store per applicant, meaning that major grocery chains like Safeway and King Soopers — which are funding the Your Choice Colorado campaign — can sell the full range of beverages in only one location in the state.
The proposed initiative is still going through the approval process before supporters collect signatures to put it on the 2016 statewide ballot.
It would create a new license allowing any retail outlet generating at least 25 percent of its revenues from food sales to offer full-strength beer and wine on its shelves.
Strauss concluded that this loosening of regulations would increase availability, decrease costs and allow grocery stores to ramp up their staffs in order to meet the new demand for this product.
“Alcohol restrictions act like a tax on Colorado consumers, by contributing to significantly higher alcohol prices and limiting consumer choice,” said Strauss, adding that he expects prices to decline 18 percent if the initiative passes.
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