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New Year Brings New Full-Strength Beer To General Stores

Stephanie Daniel
Grocery and convenience stores make room for full-strength beer which they will start selling on Jan. 1.

Beer aisles in grocery and convenience stores will be stocked with something new on New Year's Day.

A new Colorado law will allow stores like King Soopers and 7-Eleven to start selling full-strength beer on Jan. 1 at 8 a.m. The lighter 3.2 beer, an option that's been around since the Prohibition Era, will be not be sold anymore.

Andres Gil Zaldana, executive director of the Colorado Brewers Guild, said the number of stores that sell craft beer will more than double, allowing the industry to reach new customers.

"There's the opportunity to reach people who traditionally didn't go into liquor stores," he said. "To reach people who are really thinking about convenience shopping and shopping for food as well as beer."

But the law could negatively impact liquor stores that have been selling craft beer brands for years.

"How that will impact our existing accounts at those stores and how our future success is or is not tied to their health," Zaldana said. "So we'll be looking at that closely."

The new law also lets government agencies decide if full-strength beer can be consumed in public. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will allow people to drink the beer in all state parks starting Jan. 1, while most local agencies still need to make a decision.

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