Survey says Hoosiers favor cold beer, Sunday alcohol sales

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A statewide poll released Monday says 70 percent of Hoosiers favor allowing drug, convenience and grocery stores to sell cold beer, while another 65 percent favor Sunday carryout alcohol sales.

The survey was commissioned by the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, or IPCA, which favors looser laws regarding liquor sales.

The survey was conducted by national polling firm Fabrizo, Lee & Associates. The firm surveyed 600 registered voters May 8-11 via landline and cell phone calls.

“The poll confirms that Hoosiers view Indiana’s alcohol laws as nonsensical and in desperate need of change,” said Scot Imus, IPCA executive director in a written statement. “We are encouraged that this had been acknowledged by the leadership of the General Assembly with the announcement last week of the establishment of the alcohol code revision commission.”

Imus was referring to a two-year study panel to look into Indiana's alcohol laws that was announced May 25.

According to the survey, Hoosiers were in favor of:

 giving all licensed retailers the right to sell warm or cold beer (71 percent);

permitting Sunday carryout sales (65 percent);

repealing the commodity restriction on liquor stores (64 percent).

The survey said Hoosiers opposed:

allowing minors into liquor stores when accompanied by parents (67 percent);

restricting spirits sales only to liquor stores (59 percent);

requiring all alcohol to be sold behind counters in drug, convenience and grocery stores (57 percent).

In conjunction with the survey's release, IPCA announced a public awareness campaign that seeks to promote reforms to alcohol-sale laws.

The campaign, called "Chill Indiana," will be a “sometimes satirical look at Indiana’s archaic laws,” according to the statement.

“We want to find a way to harness the strong support shown for responsible alcohol reform measures and ensure that Hoosiers are able to send that message to their legislators,” Imus said. “By the end of the year, we will be installing kiosks in convenience stores throughout Indiana to enable thousands of consumers our members do business with on a daily basis to let their voices be heard.”

The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, which represents the package liquor store industry, said the state should be concerned with safety, not convenience, when it comes to alcohol sales.

“Indiana must continue to have strict alcohol regulations because when abused or used irresponsibly alcohol can destroy lives, families, and communities,” Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers Vice Chairman Jon Sinder said in written remarks. “Big Oil is well-intentioned with their polls and campaign. However, they miss the point—alcohol is a dangerous commodity. It is not meant to be convenient."

"The small business members of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers remain committed to their mandate from the State of Indiana to protect Hoosiers while preserving access to these dangerous substances in their communities," Sinder said. "As our state continues to be embroiled in a deepening addiction crisis, it is more important than ever that we look for ways to control access to potentially fatal commodities, not continue down the road of deregulation.”

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