New liquor law could reel in ‘predatory’ wine sales at big-box stores

The owners of two local liquor stores are meeting with the national distributor today.

Paul Phillips, of Antlers Liquors in Frisco, and Chris Carran, of Locals Liquors in Silverthorne, are hoping to find common ground on yet another new liquor law.

But unlike recent laws, Phillips says this law should help small business owners.

“House Bill 1373 is really about protecting small business (and) family-owned liquor stores,” Phillips says. “(This is) protecting them from the big-box grocery chains who are doing predatory sales of wine.”

Phillips tells Krystal 93 that HB-1373 is not meant to unravel a voter-approved measure passed in late 2022 that allows for wine in grocery stores. But it is meant to reel it in.

“Really it is a public health and community safety issue, where you can’t go get a gallon of milk without tripping over stack of wine,” Phillips says.

The law would limit where wine and beer can be sold in grocery stores. It would also prevent hard alcohol sales.

“There’s no reason why you should mix Wheaties with whiskey,” Phillips says.

He accuses big-box stores of unfair business practices, like selling wine for cheaper than cost. If grocery stores are allowed to carry wine, beer and hard alcohol, small local distillers and brewers would also suffer. They rarely have the muscle to break into wholesale markets.

“In the end, the money that’s spent at Antlers or at Local’s Liquors – or any other small business – the majority of that money stays locally,” Phillips says, “whereas all that money that’s being spent at grocery stores is going out of state.”

Phillips and Carran both sit on the board of Colorado Independent Liquor Stores United and they have support from state lawmakers, including our local lawmakers and Summit County speaker of the House Julie McCluskey, and state Senator Dylan Roberts.