The Connecticut Alcohol Retailers Exchange (CARE) is an association of Connecticut package stores and retailers that says it wants to modernize alcohol laws for consumers and help grow business in Connecticut. Care recently announced it had launched a new video and campaign encouraging residents to support retailers selling beer at locations statewide and other pro-consumer initiatives. Nearly 40 states currently allow retailers with significant grocery offerings — like Target and Wal-Mart — to sell beer. Now more than ever, especially as Connecticut seeks to become more competitive economically with its neighboring states like Massachusetts and New York, state law should allow for retailers with significant grocery offerings to sell beer.
“In Connecticut, we need to adapt with changing times, and that means modernizing our state’s alcohol laws,” said Josh Hughes, founder and executive director of CARE. “Our package store and retail members want to repeal the minimum price package stores can sell wine and spirits, allow package stores to be able to grow and own more permits, allow package stores to be able to sell to markets outside of the state and if you’re functioning as a grocery store — like Target and Wal-Mart — you should be able to buy beer there.”
Hughes added: “We need to give consumers the best prices for products and pass policies that adapt with changing times and help grow CT-based retailer businesses in Connecticut. Because it’s about doing what’s right for businesses and consumers in Connecticut.”
CARE recently launched an effort titled, “Cheers, Connecticut!” The campaign is aimed at generating support behind letting retailers with significant food offerings that act as grocery stores for families across the state — including Target and Wal-Mart — to sell craft beer and your favorite national beer brands.
In the ad, Bob Chicoine — co-owner of a craft brewery, Engine 15 Brewing Co., which is based in Jacksonville, Fla., but is expanding into Milford, Conn., said that letting Target and Wal-Mart sell beer like other grocery stores — similar to other states like New York and Florida — is common-sense.
“It’s a no-brainer,” said Chicoine.
Jess Camp, a young professional living in Connecticut who appeared in the ad (Cheers, Connecticut!), said that letting retailers with significant grocery offerings should be allowed to sell beer in Connecticut.
“It will make Connecticut a place where more companies want to invest and hire people,” said Camp.
When it comes to the issue of retailers with significant grocery offerings selling beer — like Target and Wal-Mart — the next step is for the Connecticut General Assembly’s General Law Committee to support that measure and many others before the committee (urge lawmakers to favor this measure by signing CARE’s petition). If the bill and the others pass in committee, and receive support from both chambers (House and Senate), followed by being signed by the governor, it will become law.
Hughes has been representing CARE for years and believes it’s time to start modernizing Connecticut’s alcohol laws to make them more competitive with other states.
“Now more than ever, as the Nutmeg State suffers from the slowest post-recession job growth increase in the region — and is one of the few states nationwide to yet reach a full recovery — we need to implement job-creating measures across the board,” said Hughes. “That’s exactly what allowing retailers with large grocery offerings — including Target and Wal-Mart — does statewide. It’ll create jobs, increase tax revenue and make our state more competitive with those around ours. It’s a win-win.”
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