Liqour selections

Voters reject measure allowing liquor stores to expand locations

Colorado voters have firmly rejected a measure that would have removed the cap on the number of storefronts a liquor licensee could operate.

Voters opposed Proposition 124 by a nearly 25-point margin — a resounding victory for small independent stores who argued the measure would bankrupt them. The Associated Press called the race, which garnered more than 1.8 million votes midday Wednesday.

Polls this fall showed that the other two alcohol-related measures on this year’s ballot – Propositions 125 and 126 – were comfortably in the lead. But voters across Colorado have said no to allowing liquor stores to open unlimited locations.

Opponents – made up of a coalition of these small shop owners – declared victory late Tuesday night, calling the vote “a true story of David versus Goliath”.

“Colorado voters have said loud and clear that they prefer local stores that provide better service than foreign companies that want absolute control over the Colorado market,” said Carolyn Joy, owner of Joy Wine and Spirits. , in a press release. statement.

Supporters of the measure conceded on Tuesday night, saying they hoped their efforts would “embolde the state legislature to address the inequalities established by current law and allow retailers to compete on a fair and equitable basis in the world.” ‘coming”.

Current law states that stores can have three locations. Proposition 124 would have expanded that number to eight by 2026 and would have finally ended the limit in 2037.

It was one of three ballot measures this year to determine how and where Coloradans could buy alcohol. And the battle over alcohol has drawn in a lot of big business money looking to tip the scales in their favor.

But voters overwhelmingly sided with small liquor store owners.

In addition to Proposition 124, the other measures asked voters whether grocery stores and convenience stores should be allowed to sell wine (Proposition 125) and whether to allow third-party companies (like Instacart and DoorDash) to deliver drinks to your home (proposal 126) .

Proponents have argued that existing liquor laws favor gigantic chains like Walmart, Target and Costco by allowing these companies to operate more than twice as many licenses (eight) as local liquor stores (three) .

“The way Colorado’s liquor laws are written, it’s only a matter of time before supermarkets and big box chains dominate the landscape and become the only game in town – picking and local liquor store expertise a thing of the past,” the “Yes to 124” campaign argued in its materials.

Opponents called the arguments “blatant falsehoods,” saying small local liquor stores would be in big trouble if the measure were passed.

“Particularly with 124 they say it will help small businesses and promote craft beer, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth,” Joy said in a statement ahead of the election. “I speak for many of the 1,600 local liquor stores that will be gobbled up by these big out-of-state corporations like Amazon and DoorDash. They are trying to buy votes in Colorado with lies and distortions with nearly $20 million in spending.