California: Liquor licenses are too expensive, and the L.A. dining scene suffers as a result 

Wednesday, July 05, 2017 9:22:00 AM

Source: LA Times

June 30, 2017


When I dine out in Los Angeles, I sometimes think of the editor Robert Messenger, who observed that a good cocktail "whets the appetite, pleases the eye, and stimulates the mind. It is one of our conspicuous contributions to cultured living." Or the writer Adam Gopnik, who said that "meeting someplace with old and new friends, ordering wine, eating food, surrounded by strangers, I think is the core of what it means to live a civilised life."


This is my way of saying that I like to order drinks at restaurants. But the price tag often stops me. Though California is home to many distillers and some of the world's most productive vineyards, a cocktail and a glass of wine while dining out can easily top $30. Why?


Supply and demand explains why wealthy Californians have access to, say, better real estate than poor Californians. There are only so many houses perched above the shores of Malibu, only so many courtside seats at Staples Center, and they go to the highest bidders. But the high cost of ordering a Negroni or a glass or Chianti is largely our creation, the result of a manufactured scarcity in licenses to sell liquor. A restaurateur must incur thousands of dollars in direct costs just to be in the drink business. And the process is so complicated that consultants and lawyers are hired to help navigate it.


At minimum, you'll need to pay roughly $13,000 to the state to be considered for a liquor license, initiating a review process that takes 90 days on average - though as the official website warns, "circumstances often result in a longer waiting period." You'll also need to pay a fee to local authorities to be considered for a conditional-use permit. In Los Angeles that costs about $8,000 if you're in no hurry. Expedited review costs closer to $15,000. Did I mention that you need to have your location established before you submit these applications, or that signing a lease without a liquor license requires a leap of faith? (If you can't sell liquor, you probably can't stay in business.)


The high cost of ordering a Negroni or a glass or Chianti is largely our creation, the result of a manufactured scarcity in licenses to sell liquor.

But that summary radically understates the costs. As noted, California artificially limits the number of liquor licenses it grants through a complicated process that involves the population size in different census tracts and counties.


What's important for our aspiring taqueria owner is that the regulations create a secondary market, which fluctuates according to supply and demand and can make the effective cost of a liquor license for a new restaurant soar well into six figures.


Hence stories like this one, from the owners of AQ on Mission Street in San Francisco. "When we opened AQ in 2011," they explain on their blog, "we purchased our license from a closing Chinese restaurant for $85,000. It seemed like a huge cost at the time." But less than five years later, they added, "many licenses are being sold in the $250,000 to $325,000 range!"


Big industry players can thrive in spite of those eye-popping upfront costs, knowing they'll pass them along to consumers over time.


But as Jim Saksa observed in Slate after surveying the 16 states with similar laws, "the quota system creates barriers to entry stiffer than a shot of cheap tequila, forcing aspiring restaurateurs to take on more debt, or surrender more of their business to equity investors, just to get off the ground." The status quo favors corporate partnerships backed by hedge funds. Meanwhile it's brutal for aspiring restaurateurs who happen to be culinary school graduates with student debt -- and more brutal still for recent immigrants with a dream, a family recipe and a language barrier that makes navigating a complex alcohol bureaucracy even harder.


Most Californians are blind to the costs. They don't notice when the would-be owners of a small taqueria never open because the business doesn't make sense without the margaritas; nor do they lament the lost pleasures of the meals uneaten, even as they complain that all the new dining spots are too expensive.


The restaurant scenes of many neighborhoods are increasingly geared to diners who can afford $15 or $16 for the pleasure of a cocktail before ordering a pricey Merlot. Want other kinds of restaurants to thrive?


Make liquor licenses cheaper.


Doing so hardly invites a dystopia. In Oregon, our looser, more egalitarian neighbor to the north, restaurateurs pay $400 for a state liquor license, plus $100 to the city of Portland for a municipal license, if that's where they want to open. Portland's culinary scene is more creative, delicious and fair by virtue of the fact that anyone from the biggest restaurant group to the aspiring chef to the refugee family with a flair for cooking can plausibly execute any concept they want without prohibitive licensing costs.


Shouldn't everyone in our restaurant industry have a shot?

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Wednesday, July 05, 2017 9:19:00 AM

New survey says that this generation eats out at least five times a week.


Source: NACS

June 27, 2017


Millennials are falling victim to what calls "common financial vices," such as spending money in coffee shops, racking up bar tabs or frequently dining out.


According to a new study from, the average millennial dines at a restaurant or buys take-out food five times per week and 29% of millennials say they buy coffee at least three times per week.


"Often, it's the minor, habitual expenses, such as take-out and alcohol, that wreak havoc on your budget," said Sarah Berger of "Small steps, such as preparing meals at home and brewing your own coffee, can add up to big savings over the course of a year."


Overall, Americans are doing a better job with "financial vices." The survey found that 59% of Americans say they don't purchase any brewed coffee or tea in a typical week, 73% say they don't buy alcoholic drinks at bars or restaurants each week and 40% of Americans say they buy take-out or dine at a restaurant no more than once per week.


However, millennials have different spending habits than their elders. found that 54% of younger millennials eat out at least three times per week, compared to 33% of Gen Xers and 32% of Baby Boomers. In addition, 42% of all millennials and 51% between the ages of 21-26 typically go to a bar at least once a week, versus 24% of Gen Xers and 19% of Baby Boomers.


"A recent survey conducted by measuring Americans' emergency savings showed that just 16% of younger millennials have saved the recommended six months' worth of expenses. Money saved from packing lunch and passing on lattes would be a smart investment in building that emergency fund," Berger added.

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Why Off-Premise Consumption is Eating into On-Premise Performance 

Wednesday, July 05, 2017 9:19:00 AM

Source: Wine & Spirits Daily

June 27, 2017

As American consumers increase their alcohol intake at home, the on-premise channel shifted some share over to off-premise in 2016, a trend both Nielsen and IWSR have pointed out to your editors recently.

In a presentation during the annual NABCA convention, Nielsen's Danny Brager shared that volume growth for wine grew 1.5% off-premise and 1.2% on-premise, while spirits volumes grew 2% off-premise and 1.4% on-premise.

According to Nielsen, the key reasons consumers are opting to spend more time drinking at home include: 

.           Popularity of pre-gaming

.           E-commerce

.           Prepared meals/ meal kits

.           Airbnb taking people out of hotel bars

.           More people working from home (lunch impact)

.           Drinking/driving laws

.           Cost/value of drinks under more scrutiny

"The transparency of on-premise mark-ups makes it easier for people to weigh the cost of eating out and paying $12.00 for a glass of wine, versus buying that same bottle of wine for $24.99," IWSR's Brandy Rand tells WSD.

Zeroing in on what IWSR considers the two most important factors behind the increase off-premise, convenience and cost, Brandy says: "Most people believe they can make a meal or cocktail at home better--and cheaper--than going out," she says. In addition, prepared foods at grocery stores are on the rise, and replacing casual dining. "In the end, it's about what's most convenient," says Brandy, and technology is making at-home consumption more convenient.

Subscription food and beverage services, and meal kits like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, allow consumers to get their hands on items that might not be available in their neighborhood grocery store, which they might have formerly relied on on-premise for.

 "As more and more technology is actually enabling and telling people what to buy, that brand experience and brand resonance becomes crucially important," said Jordan Rost, Nielsen's vp of consumer insights, at the NABCA convention.

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Is big alcohol taking a hit from legal weed? 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 10:23:00 AM

According to one survey, some Gen Xers and boomers are making the switch from alcohol to pot.

Source: Salon


June 21, 2017

Consumer trend data compiled by OutCo and Monocle Research finds that many California twenty-somethings, post-legalization, are switching from beer to pot. Marketers surveyed 2,000 cannabis consumers in seven major California cities. One-third of millennial respondents said that they are choosing cannabis over beer. One out of five acknowledged substituting weed for wine, and 14 percent admitted consuming herb rather than hard alcohol.

Older respondents, including baby boomers, also reported making the switch from booze to pot. According to the survey, 20 percent of Gen Xers and eight percent of boomers similarly acknowledged substituting pot in place of alcohol.

The findings provide further credence to a December 2016 report from the Cowan & Company research firm which determined that beer sales by major distributors - including Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors - have "collectively underperformed" over the past two years in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. In Denver, arguably the epicenter for the marijuana retail sales market, beer sales have fallen nearly seven percent, analysists concluded.

A March 2017 research report by the Cannabiz Consumer Group similarly indicates that cannabis is cutting in on beer's popularity. Researchers reported that 27 percent drinkers surveyed said that they had either substituted cannabis for beer, or that they would do so in the future if retail weed sales become legal. The company estimated that beer sales could decline by as much as $2 billion if cannabis was legal nationwide.

Questions concerning whether cannabis typically acts as a substitute or as a complement to alcohol remain ongoing. But a 2014 literature review published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism indicates that the weight of the available evidence supports the former theory - particularly among young adults. Authors concluded: "While more research and improved study designs are needed to better identify the extent and impact of cannabis substitution on those affected by AUD (alcohol use disorder), cannabis does appear to be a potential substitute for alcohol. Perhaps more importantly, cannabis is both safer and potentially less addictive than benzodiazepines and other pharmaceuticals that have been evaluated as substitutes for alcohol."

Survey data from states where medical cannabis has long been legally available frequently report declines in alcohol consumption. For instance, a 2011 patient survey from California reported that those qualified to access medicinal cannabis used alcohol at rates that were "significantly lower" than those of the general public. More recently, a study published this year in the Journal of Psychopharmacology reported that over 40 percent of state-registered medical marijuana patients acknowledged reducing their alcohol intake after initiating cannabis therapy.

Polling data finds that most Americans, and those between the ages 18 to 40 in particular, now believe that cannabis is far less harmful to health than alcohol. Their belief is supported by the relevant science. For example, alcohol possesses a dependence liability that is nearly twice that of cannabis, is a far greater contributor to traffic accidents, and is capable of causing organ failure and even death by overdose. According to a 2011 study comparing the physical, psychological, and social impact of the two substances: "A direct comparison of alcohol and cannabis showed that alcohol was considered to be more than twice as harmful as cannabis to [individual] users, and five times more harmful as cannabis to others (society). . As there are few areas of harm that each drug can produce where cannabis scores more [dangerous to health] than alcohol, we suggest that even if there were no legal impediment to cannabis use, it would be unlikely to be more harmful than alcohol."

The fact that the legal marijuana market may pose potential challenges for the alcohol beverage industry is hardly going unnoticed. The topic was front and center at the 2016 Beer Industry Summit, according to reports from attendees. And last year, industry players contributed funds against voter-initiated legalization measures in Arizona and Massachusetts. (The Massachusetts initiative passed while the Arizona measure was defeated.)

Yet, given the ubiquitous role alcohol plays in American culture, it is hard to imagine a scenario where the emerging legal marijuana market presents a serious threat to Big Booze any time soon. After all, while federal lawmakers have endorsed Congressional resolutions "commending" US beer sales, they simultaneously refuse to amend federal law to even permit marijuana businesses to have relationships with banks or take standard payroll deductions. In short, as long as booze remains king on Capitol Hill, the cannabis industry will continue be engaged in an uphill battle for both respectability and market share.

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Alcohol border sales trouble brewing between Illinois and Indiana 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 9:52:00 AM

Source: Illinois News Network

June 25, 2017

Illinois is already losing out on alcohol sales, and changes to Indiana's alcohol sales regulations could add to the state's revenue woes.

With high alcohol taxes in Illinois and neighboring Indiana showing an interest in relaxing strict alcohol regulations, Illinois distributors fear alcohol sales could move out of state. 

In Indiana, cold beer can be sold only in liquor stores and no alcohol sales are allowed on Sundays except at restaurants. In a recent poll, though, 71 percent of Indiana supported allowing more cold beer sales and 65 percent approved of Sunday alcohol sales.

Bob Myers, president of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, emphasized that changes to Indiana's alcohol sales laws could bring tougher times to retailers in Illinois benefiting from patrons crossing the border. 

"When Indiana changes those laws, it's going to end, causing more competition for our Illinois retailers, and it could end up having a very adverse effect on sales," Myers said.  

Myers noted that while some Indiana residents might come to Illinois for alcohol on a Sunday or to stock up on cold beer, Illinois residents are just as often crossing the border to avoiding paying higher alcohol prices due to taxes. 

"In Illinois, the tax on beer is 23.1 cents per gallon; in Indiana it's like half that amount - around 11.5 cents per gallon," Myers said. "They're already at a competitive advantage because of the fact their taxes are so much cheaper."

According to Myers, a study revealed that Illinois is losing between $15 million and $30 million per year in cross-border alcohol sales. That number could go up If Indiana loosens its alcohol regulations and Illinois residents look for savings. 

"Not only does the state of Illinois charge a tax on beer wine and spirits, but so does the county of Cook, and so does the city of Chicago," Myers said. "So by time you pay all of your tax, somewhere in the neighborhood of about 48 to 49 percent of that beer that you just purchased was tax alone."

Myers has heard of retailers being caught going to Indiana, purchasing enough alcohol to fill up a trailer and bringing it back to Illinois to avoid paying the higher taxes. 

"When you have situations like that, Illinois not only loses what they call the 'gallonage' tax the tax distributors pay, but we also lose the sales tax, because once those retailers go over and they purchase products illegally and they bring it back to Illinois to sell it illegally, chances are they're not going to be applying the applicable sales tax to those drinks," Myers said.


Myers said if Indiana changes its alcohol regulations to expand sales, more money could be leaving Illinois

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WSWA President and CEO Statement on Ruling to Dismiss Lebamoff Enterprises v. Rauner 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 9:50:00 AM

Wholesaler Chief Says Ruling Again Demonstrates Courts' Long-Standing and Repeated Support for Primary State Authority and Three-Tier System

Source: WSWA

June 23rd

Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) President and CEO Craig Wolf today issued the below statement following a recent Illinois court ruling that reinforced the constitutionality and important societal benefits of the three-tier system of beverage alcohol regulation. The Illinois decision is just one of numerous recent court decisions across multiple states each upholding these important principles.

The ruling was issued June 8 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Lebamoff Enterprises v. Rauner.  District Judge Der-Yeghiayan held that Illinois law prohibiting an out-of-state retailer from directly shipping beverage-alcohol to an in-state consumer, did not violate the Commerce Clause. 

"To allow Out-of-State Plaintiffs to operate outside the three-tier system in Illinois, while in-state retailers diligently operate within the regulatory system and help to limit the potential social problems connected with improper use of alcohol, would actually provide Out-of-State Plaintiffs with an unfair advantage over the in-state retailers rather than remove any self-perceived disadvantage to Plaintiffs.  Plaintiffs' Commerce Clause claims in this action thus seek to foster unfair advantages in commerce, which is ironically contrary to the Commerce Clause," the ruling noted.  It further stated that plaintiffs' claims of discriminatory treatment is an attempt to circumvent the Illinois statutory scheme designed to protect the Illinois public. 

"For over eight decades, primary state authority and a strong regulatory framework have been guiding principles of the three-tier system of beverage alcohol manufacture, distribution and sales.  The modern three-tier system enables American consumers to enjoy the widest selection of products available anywhere in the world, while guaranteeing appropriate regulatory oversight, efficient tax collection, as well as a commitment to social responsibility and opposition to underage access," said WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf.

A complete copy of Judge Der-Yeghiayan's ruling is here.

"WSWA supports the rights of states to regulate alcohol within their borders as granted by the Twenty-first Amendment.  Judge Der-Yeghiayan's ruling includes strong language in support of a well-regulated three-tier system and the principle of primary state authority," Wolf added.  "This ruling is a powerful blow against those who seek to work around, not within, the nation's long-standing and consistently upheld beverage-alcohol laws."

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Legal pot and car crashes: Yes, there's a link 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 9:42:00 AM


By Ed LeefeldtMoneyWatch June 22, 2017, 12:01 AM

Does driving while high have any impact on auto accident rates? Legalized recreational marijuana use in Colorado, Oregon and Washington correlates to about a 3 percent increase in auto collision claim frequencies compared to states without such legislation, according to a new Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) study. It's the first one the group has conducted since the drug went on sale legally.

"More drivers admit to using marijuana, and it is showing up more frequently among people involved in crashes," the study said.

The HLDI is affiliated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit research organization that usually focuses on figuring out which cars are safest. The group is funded by auto insurance companies, which have a vested interest in not having to pay claims and -- of course -- hold a bias against impaired driving of any kind.

According to the HLDI, past researchers haven't been able to "definitively connect marijuana use with real-world crashes," and even a federal study failed to find such a link. "Studies on the effects of legalizing marijuana for medical use have also been inconclusive," said the HLDI.

Instead, the group focused on three states -- Colorado, where legal marijuana retail sales started in 2014, as well as Oregon and Washington, where sales began in 2015 -- and compared them to the collision claims in neighboring states such as Nevada and Utah, parts of which now allow only medical marijuana. It also factored in statistics regarding the three states where recreational use is now legal from before it became available to the general public.

Colorado saw the largest estimated increase in claim frequency -- 14 percent more than its bordering states, while Washington state was 6 percent greater and Oregon had a 4 percent increase. Allowing for the total control group, "the combined effect for the three states was a smaller, but still significant at 3 percent," said HLDI Vice President Matt Moore.

The group used collision claims because they are the most frequent kind insurers receive. Drivers file these claims for damage to their vehicle in a crash with an object or with another vehicle, generally when the driver is at fault, the HLDI said.

The HLDI said it's preparing for more of these studies and has already begun a "large-scale case-control study" in Oregon to find out if usage could be causing automotive injuries.

But the auto insurance industry's position on legalized marijuana is already crystal clear. "Worries that legalized marijuana is increasing crash rates aren't misplaced," said David Zuby, chief research officer of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "The HLDI's findings on the early experience in Colorado, Oregon and Washington should give other states eyeing legalization pause."


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Illinois: Breakthru Beverage Group and Freixenet USA Expand Partnership in Illinois 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 9:35:00 AM

Source: Res Publica

June 22, 2017


Breakthru Beverage Group today announced that it is expanding its sales partnership with Freixenet USA. Beginning July 1, Breakthru will offer Freixenet USA's portfolio of premier wines in Illinois. The portfolio includes Freixenet, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Mia, René Barbier, Ferrer Family Wines, Deakin Estate, Finca Ferrer, and Katnook Estate.


"We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Breakthru in many markets, and we are excited to leverage their Illinois team's passion for selling fine wines on behalf of Freixenet USA. At Freixenet USA, we take great pride in our celebrated brands and heritage, and we look forward to strengthening our commitment to our partnership with Breakthru," said Tom Burnet, President of Freixenet USA.


Freixenet, a fifth-generation, family-run company founded in 1861, currently boasts the number one selling Cava in the world and the number two selling imported sparkling wine in the United States. In addition to the Illinois market, Breakthru currently distributes Freixenet USA's wines in Arizona, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.


"Breakthru is thrilled to expand our relationship with Freixenet USA and to bring their portfolio to one of the most important markets in the county," said Greg Baird, President and CEO of Breakthru Beverage Group. "As we continue to grow our portfolio in a strategic, meaningful way, we seek partners whose values are in line with those we hold at Breakthru. We have the highest respect for their commitment to produce high caliber wines and Cava at great value to consumers. We look forward to continuing to grow our relationship with our partners at Freixenet."

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Op-ed: Founder of MADD says Utah's new drunk driving law is an unhelpful distraction 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Source: Salt Lake Tribune

By Candace Lightner

Jun 17 2017


As the opioid crisis metastasizes and marijuana continues to be legalized across the country, drug use is on the rise. And as these substances become more common in everyday life, they also become more common on the road.


While drunk driving remains a serious concern, other threats are mounting on our roadways. According to a recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, 43 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for some sort of drug, legal or illegal. And with the rise of smartphones and other gadgets, people are distracted more than ever while driving.


As the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) I can attest that there is a new kind of madness on the roads. And new approaches are needed to save lives.


Unfortunately, the necessary debate on how to solve these new challenges isn't happening in earnest. The traffic safety community is distracted by an issue that will do little to save lives: lowering the drunk driving arrest threshold from .08 to .05.


And they're distracting the public as well.


Back in the early years at MADD we focused on getting serious drunk drivers off the road. Believe it or not, back then someone who was pulled over for drunk driving might be sent on their way by an officer with little more than a casual "get home safe." As a result many lives were unnecessarily lost, including my daughter's. In the more than 35 years since MADD's founding, we have fought drunk driving ferociously and saved countless lives in the process.


But today, the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction - with government agencies pushing states to arrest people for having little to drink before driving instead of pursuing strategies to tackle serious distraction and impairment. Anyone who works in traffic safety knows that most highway deaths are not caused by drivers with low blood alcohol content levels, but are the result of drivers with substance abuse disorders. Focusing finite resources on casual drinkers instead of drug and alcohol abusers is a miscalculation with deadly consequences.


Every dollar spent enforcing DUI laws against sober drivers is one not spent on getting the worst offenders off our roads. The effort that the Utah legislature is putting toward lowering the drunk driving arrest threshold - a "solution" without any real evidence to support its efficacy - would be better spent on meaningful solutions, like ensuring that serious drunks are installing ignition interlocks in their cars. According to a new report from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation using government data, Utah has the second lowest ignition interlock compliance rate in the country. If the Utah Legislature focused on ensuring that more drunk drivers in the state were installing these devices as mandated, then Utah might really make some progress in its fight to make the roads safer.


I'm pleased that the organization I founded isn't one of the groups pursuing the new lower alcohol limit strategy. But that hasn't stopped states like Utah from passing legislation to arrest drivers who are at .05.


This has kicked off a national conversation about whether or not it makes sense to put someone in jail for not much more than a single drink (it doesn't). If we are getting into that level of impairment then we should logically be jailing people for cell phone use while driving. The debate needs to focus on how we're going to manage this new world of endlessly distracting gadgets and the legalization of marijuana. Nine states have legalized marijuana for recreational use and we don't have an agreed upon set of standards for how to gauge impairment or a reliable method for roadside testing for drugs in a person's system as we do with breathalyzers and alcohol. Developing these methods and creating more public awareness around drugged driving should be a top priority for our traffic safety officials.


I'm not suggesting that we lose our focus or commitment to fighting drunk driving. But we should be clear-eyed about the nature of today's problems.


Since 1980, when MADD was founded, drunk driving deaths have plummeted by more than 50 percent. The key to our success was public education. But it's a lot harder to get people's attention today than it was back then, which is all the more reason we shouldn't squander it on issues that don't maximize public safety impact.


The conversation on .05 is a distraction. And people are already distracted enough.


Candace Lightner is the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, as well as founder and president of We Save Lives.

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Border businesses could see drop in sales 

Monday, June 19, 2017 1:27:00 PM

By: Aaron Eades

Posted: Jun 12, 2017 10:56 PM CDT

Updated: Jun 13, 2017 09:52 AM CDT


DANVILLE, Ill. and COVINGTON, Ind. (WCIA) -- Every day, people cross the border to escape Indiana's strict alcohol laws, but there's a chance they could change soon.

A poll taken last month revealed the majority of people in Indiana support relaxing the state's restrictions on beer, wine and liquor sales. But if that happens, businesses in Illinois could take a hit.

In Indiana, you can't buy alcohol on Sundays, and you can't buy cold beer in convenience stores. It's only sold warm.

Across the border in Illinois, you can buy cold beer seven days a week. Those in the Hoosier state say changing the rules is a matter of convenience, but for businesses at the border, it's a matter of profit.

At this convenience store on Lynch Road, clerk Kelly Gerling says she can barely keep enough cold beer on the shelves.

"We go through a lot of beer on Sundays," she says.

The store is right off I-74, right next to the border, and it's the right idea for a lot of Indiana drinkers.

"They don't even mess with the hot beer over there," says Gerling. "They will drive miles from Indiana to get here to get liquor."

A few miles away, the I & I State Line Tavern is only steps from the border. One of the bartenders says Indiana's laws give them plenty of business.

"I'd say people drive probably like an hour's drive to get here, just to buy beer on Sundays," says Tracie Matthias.

On a hot day, cold beer is a luxury on the Indiana side of the border, which is why many people are warming up to the idea of changing the law.

"I'm open to any kind of alcohol sales on Sunday," says Josh Rainey, of Covington.

A group of guys toasting the end of the workday say planning for the weekend can be tricky.

"Either have to plan ahead on Saturday if you want to drink or you have to go to the state line like we normally have to," says Rainey.

That's something they'd prefer not to do.

"It'd be a lot more convenient than running to Illinois to get it," says Roger Bowling. "If something comes up, you need alcohol, you got to run over there instead of running four miles the other way."

Not everyone thinks convenience should be the goal. Chuck Whitaker says he likes the status quo, pointing out the dangers of alcoholism and driving drunk.

"I don't think we need it," he says. "People can get all the alcohol they want and store it in their house if they want it."

The majority of people in Indiana may not want to have to stock up. It's an idea Illinois' border business owners won't necessarily drink to.

"I'm sure it concerns the owners quite a bit," says Matthias. "And it does concern me too, because that is a lot of the business that we get on Sundays."

The cold beer and Sunday alcohol sales debates have been heating up in Indiana this year. Several organizations are pressuring state lawmakers to make a change. Border business owners will have to wait to see what happens.

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