Outrageous, Egregious, Preposterous: The Hoosier State Chilled Beer Law

Straight from the Hoosier State is a lawsuit that invokes memories of Jackie Chiles.  According to Business Week and the Associate Press, an Indiana trade group filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn certain restrictions on the sale of chilled beer.  Can’t you picture Kramer walking into Jackie’s office complaining about the lack of cold beer at the local convenience store? As Jackie once said, “Yeah that’s going to be a problem. It’s gonna be a problem for them. This a clear violation of your rights as a consumer. It’s an infringement on your constitutional rights. It’s outrageous, egregious, preposterous!” Under a 1963 state law, chilled beer cannot be legally sold in Indiana unless it is sold in a liquor store.  Now, the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association has challenged the ban in federal court.  The lawsuit claims that the law is arbitrary and discriminates against grocery and convenience stores.

According to a representative of the group:

“In reviewing the history, it became more and more clear to us there really was not a rational basis for the current law. The fact the law says pharmacies, convenience stores and grocery stores are capable enough to sell the product warm, then it gets rather arbitrary about what temperature it can be sold at. When you change the temperature, it doesn’t change the alcohol content.”

Ironically, the grocery stores and convenience stores can already sell chilled wine.  I’d say the probably have a decent case that the law is indeed arbitrary.  Nevertheless, it’s probably still a long shot that they win the lawsuit, but here’s to hoping the good guys win this one.

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