The largest beer and wine wholesaler in Indiana is asking a state appeals court to find a law unconstitutional that prohibits beer wholesalers from seeking a permit to also distribute liquor.
A three-judge Indiana Court of Appeals panel heard arguments Tuesday from attorneys representing Monarch Beverage Co. and the state, The Indianapolis Star reported. Monarch also wants to distribute liquor to retailers. But state law says if it wants to do that it must not sell beer. The appeals court will rule at a later date.
The Indianapolis-based company is suing the commissioner of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. A Marion County judge previously ruled against Monarch, which appealed. Its attorneys argue the law discriminates against beer wholesalers. The Indiana attorney general's office disagrees.
Monarch has been fighting to overturn the state's alcohol distribution laws in the court and in the Legislature for nearly a decade to no avail.
U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled against the company's latest lawsuit in late September. Barker said Monarch failed to prove it was being treated differently than any other beer distributor in the state, a requirement for an equal protection challenge.