August 28, 2008
Cold Beer Monopolies Cost Hoosier Consumers
To: RETAILING EDITORS
Contact: Grant Monahan of Hoosiers for Beverage Choices, +1-317- 847-3459, [email protected]
INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- A price survey conducted this week in over 200 Indiana communities by Hoosiers for Beverage Choices showed Indiana consumers are routinely forced to pay extra for the privilege of buying their beer cold at liquor stores.
"Working men and women who want to enjoy the Labor Day holiday weekend with a cold beer should not be inconvenienced by an antiquated state law that dictates where they may purchase it, nor in these challenging economic times should they be forced to pay more for it," said Grant Monahan, President of the Indiana Retail Council.
A review of liquor store permits at the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission found that in 287 Indiana communities the cold beer market is dominated by a single business entity. In the city of Marion, for example, one company owns all six of the city's liquor stores, effectively controlling the cold beer market for the entire community.
The price survey showed that in 81 percent of the 208 communities examined, consumers were forced to pay up to an additional $3.68 if they opted to buy cold beer over the store's warm beer offerings.(1) The average surcharge totaled $1.08. If this average held true for all of the state's liquor stores, it is estimated that Hoosier consumers would pay annually $2.7 million in surcharges to buy cold beer in cases.
The Hoosiers for Beverage Choices (HBC) coalition believes all retailers licensed to sell alcohol in the state of Indiana should have the same ability to serve their customers. Coalition members believe it is unfair to both consumers and drug, grocery and convenience store operators to allow only one retail segment, liquor stores, to sell cold beer for at home consumption.
"Hoosiers should not have to pay a premium to buy their beer cold," stated Mick Parker, President and CEO of Village Pantry convenience stores. "Village Pantry would absolutely not charge customers more for buying cold beer; that would be like charging our customers more for coffee that is hot."
"Worse yet is the fact that the cold beer surcharge forced on consumers is not limited to just those communities with liquor store monopolies," said Monahan. "Many liquor stores throughout the state routinely charge consumers more for cold beer, costing Hoosiers millions of dollars annually."
More than 12,500 Hoosiers from all of Indiana's 92 counties visited the HBC coalition's website, www.beveragechoices.com, during the first two weeks of the website launch and signed the online petition to Indiana legislators in support of cold beer sales, Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages in drug, grocery and convenience stores and increased retail permit fees with proceeds being used to fund alcohol awareness campaigns. The statewide grassroots effort by Hoosiers for Beverage Choices hopes to modernize Indiana's outdated alcoholic beverage laws to reflect the needs of today's time- starved shopper and bring convenience and price competition to the alcoholic beverage retail marketplace.
Hoosiers for Beverage Choices believes that Indiana's alcohol laws need to move into the 21st Century by promoting convenience, real choices, and competitive prices, while maintaining regulations and laws that prevent minors from purchasing alcohol. Hoosiers for Beverage Choices is comprised of Indiana retailers and their customers and trade associations including the Indiana Retail Council, The Indiana Petroleum Council and The Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association.
(1)The price survey was for a case (warm and cold) of Bud Light and was conducted on 8/26/08 in 208 of the 287 communities where one company completely dominates the cold beer market. Please note -- price information in some communities was unavailable.
SOURCE Hoosiers for Beverage Choices
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