Cold beer issue puts restaurant alcohol permits on hold

Hundreds of Indiana restaurants seeking to renew their alcohol permits are now on hold due to a legislative kerfuffle that erupted when two Ricker's convenience stores started selling cold beer.

Indiana's Alcohol and Tobacco Commission approved the temporary hold on 367 renewals on Tuesday. Chairman David Cook said the reason was pending legislation addressing a loophole that Ricker's took advantage of to sell cold beer.

Convenience stores can sell warm beer. But cold beer sales are reserved for liquor stores. Ricker's bypassed that by serving Mexican food at two locations, enabling them to obtain alcohol permits reserved for restaurants.

That irritated powerful lawmakers who said it goes against the spirit of state law.

Restaurants that are on hold will be granted a 90-day permit extension while legislation is pending.

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