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DENVER -- For the first time since prohibition, grocery stores, convenience stores, and other large food retailers could sell full-strength beer and wine, if a bill introduced Thursday in the state legislature is passed and signed into law.
The new bill, sponsored by Sen. Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, might be heard as early as next week in the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to published reports. The bill would:
• Allow liquor-store owners to operate up to three shops, up from the current one-store limit.
• Allow liquor stores to set aside 5 percent of their floor space for selling nonperishable food items such as pretzels and other snacks.
• Introduce a new class of liquor license that would allow retailers to sell wine and full-strength beer.
• Limit beer and wine displays in supermarkets and convenience stores to 5 percent of floor space.
• To help boost sales of Colorado craft beer and wine, it will require 20 percent of beer displays to contain craft beers and another 20 percent to contain boutique wines.
State law has barred grocers from selling regular beer and wine since Prohibition ended in 1933. Currently, they can sell only beer containing 3.2 percent alcohol. Full-strength beer contains 6 percent alcohol.