Cerveza Fria? Zimne Piwo? Grocery Stores challenge Indiana’s restrictions on selling cold beer.
Indiana has a law limiting the sale of cold beer. Under Indiana Code 7.1-5-10-11, certain permitees allowed to sell beer cannot sell cold beer:Sec. 11. Sale of Cold Beer Prohibited. It is unlawful for the holder of a beer dealer's permit to offer or display for sale, or sell, barter, exchange or give away a bottle, can, container, or package of beer that was iced or cooled by the permittee before or at the time of the sale, exchange, or gift.
There are exceptions to the rule, but the rule keeps grocery stores and convenience stores from selling cold beer. Strangely, under Indiana law, grocery stores can sell cold wine – which often has an alcohol content higher than beer.
The complaint (a full copy with exhibits is here) has an interesting argument related to craft beer – that because some craft beer manufacturers require cooling, facilities unable to sell cold beer cannot meet the requirements or sell the beer and are kept out of the marketplace for craft beer.
The point to this complaint, and the tie-in to one of the curious themes we’ve seen recently, is that the rational basis argument pops up here. We saw this recently in the challenge to Kentucky’s regulations prohibiting grocery stores and convenience stores from selling liquor and wine. The broader point is the recent push to challenge liquor laws alleging they have no rational basis under the equal protection guaranties of the constitution. As with Kentucky, we will watch the progress of this suit to see where the Indiana court comes out on the issue.