Grocery Store Beer Backers Urge Governor To Sign Bill

Supporters of a bill that would allow more grocery stores to sell full-strength beer and wine held a Capitol news conference today, urging Gov. John Hickenlooper to sign the measure.

The bill allows grocery and convenience stores to gradually buy a limited number of liquor licenses over time. It represents a compromise attempt to ward off a ballot measure that could greatly expand sales at grocery stores immediately.

Democratic Rep. Angela Williams, a bill sponsor, said a successful ballot measure would hurt mom and pop store owners.

“I firmly believe that if he does not sign this bill those small businesses will be in jeopardy and I do not want to see those small businesses put out of business," Williams said.

Carolyn Joy owns Joy Wine and Spirits in Denver. She says the compromise is much more attractive than the alternative -- a ballot measure that could greatly expand booze sales at grocery stores immediately.

"The way the initiative is right now, the ballot initiative, would have a huge impact on the way that I run my business and could potentially put me out of business – very quickly, overnight," Joy said.

A Hickenlooper spokeswoman said he is studying the bill – and wants to make sure there are enough protections for small businesses. He has until June 10 to make up his mind.