Full Strength Beer In Grocery Stores? Maybe By 2037, Under Compromise Bill

A plan to put full-strength beer in Colorado grocery stores by 2037 is on its way to the governor.

The complicated bill sets up a 20-year phase-out of Colorado's unusual limits on grocery-store beer. Grocers currently can have only one store in the state selling beer stronger than 3.2 percent alcohol, a limit that rules out most brands unless they make "near-beer" versions.

The measure that passed Wednesday allows grocery stores to buy more licenses from neighboring liquor stores. Those supermarkets could also sell wine and liquor.

By 2037, any Colorado grocery store could sell beer, wine or liquor. The measure makes no provision for gas stations, which would not be able to sell full-strength beer.

Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign the bill into law.