Tell your Legislators to
Enforce the Law.

Current Indiana state law says only liquor stores and restaurants can sell cold beer and hard liquor. However, gas stations are attempting to use loopholes like adding chairs and selling food to work around this law. Because liquor stores are subject to regulations and special training to protect against underage drinking and other unsafe practices that other retailers are not, these workarounds sacrifice the safety of Hoosiers for convenience.

Don't sacrifice safety for convenience.

Tell your legislator to keep the liquor laws the way they are.

The law is crystal clear.

  • It is not legal for a gas station in Indiana to sell hard liquor or cold beer.
    • The laws concerning the retail sales of cold beer and hard liquor have been continuously debated and specifically contemplated for decades. There is no ambiguity or confusion over the letter or spirit of the law. 
  • Alcohol is strictly regulated by the State of Indiana because it is a dangerous substance with potential lethal consequences. Misuse of alcohol can destroy lives, families and communities. 
    • Alcohol regulations are a serious matter because they keep Hoosiers safe. They are not a parlor game for businesses seeking loopholes or special treatment.   
    • According to a recent survey, 89 percent of respondents agreed that government regulation of alcohol is necessary to keep people safe.
  • The Ricker Oil Company (Ricker’s) has been on the leading edge of attempts to deregulate the sale of dangerous alcohol products and has been unable to convince legislators to allow the sale of hard liquor or cold beer in gas stations or convenience stores, despite multiple attempts over several years.
  • Unable to convince legislators, Ricker’s began to crowd state and federal courts with frivolous lawsuits aiming to force the state to allow them to sell cold beer. Each of the lawsuits failed. 
    • Ricker’s sued in state court and lost. Unsuccessful in state court, they sued in federal court and lost on summary judgement.  Unsuccessful in federal court, they appealed and lost once again. 
  • Unwilling to accept multiple defeats in the statehouse and in the courthouses, Ricker’s found a perceived loophole. They began to call their gas station a “restaurant” and applied for a three-way permit that would allow the gas station to serve hard liquor and cold beer for on premise consumption and carry-out. 
    • This permit was granted by the ATC, despite the clear intent of the legislature and long-established law governing the subject. This permit was wrongly granted.   
    • To qualify as a “restaurant”, these gas stations installed a food counter and twenty-five chairs.
    • The permit granted to Ricker’s cost less than one half of one percent of the cost of a typical package liquor permit in Indiana, giving the gas station chain an unfair advantage over competitors that followed the law.
  • If allowed to stand, this perceived loophole would create a dangerous precedent, rendering virtually any business in Indiana a possible “restaurant” that could obtain a permit for on premise and carry-out cold beer and hard liquor.
    • There would be nothing to stop every Indiana gas station, convenience store, and retail merchant from selling dangerous alcohol products for carry-out, without the stringent protections and regulations that keep Hoosiers safe.
    • Indiana regulators would be unable to effectively monitor a sudden proliferation of new permit holders for compliance, jeopardizing the fidelity of existing laws designed to protect communities.
  • House Bill 1496 is a common sense solution that formally codifies the legislature’s intent when it comes to the regulation of cold beer and hard liquor sales. Most importantly, it closes the dangerous perceived loophole exploited by Ricker’s in order to do an end-around of long-established regulations. 
    • The bill would only prevent such “restaurants” installed in Ricker’s gas stations from selling cold beer or hard liquor for carry-out. They would be allowed to continue sales for on premise consumption. 
  • It is disappointing that this issue is distracting policy makers from the critical issues like infrastructure and healthcare that are being considered during this legislative session. It is time to move on. 
    • This issue was forced upon the legislature by Ricker’s who irresponsibly chose to conduct a back-door challenge to long-established state law in this matter. It is the responsibility of the Indiana General Assembly to clarify such laws on behalf of Hoosiers when they are challenged in such exceptional circumstances. 
    • This is an important debate. It should not be forced upon the legislature without input from all stakeholders. 

Tell Your Legislators to Enforce the Law