Can't Buy a Cold Beer at Convenience Stores in Indiana

Seemingly arbitrary regulation yields a federal lawsuit


not in indiana you don't

Indiana is apparently the only state in the union that* regulates alcohol by its temperature, forcing convenience stores to sell warm beer. Those stores are now suing the state alcohol and tobacco commission.


"The constitutional claim at issue are pretty simple," said attorney John Maley.  "It's to be treated equally, to be treated fairly."

One of the things pointed out in the lawsuit is the fact that convenience stores in Indiana can sell cold wine. 

"This just doesn't make sense," said Greg Cobb of Freedom Oil.

Beer and wine are the number three carryout items in Indiana convenience stores behind tobacco and energy drinks.  Store owners say that if they were allowed to sell the beer cold, beer and wine would immediately jump to number two.  And that, say convenience store owners, would lead to big changes.

Probably anybody that has a convenience store in Indiana, if they give this right," said Imus, "They're immediately going to go down and apply for a building permit and build a beer cave."

And if nothing changes, they say, investment will go elsewhere. 

"Thorton's has not built a convenience store in Indiana since 2006," said David Bridgers of Thorton's convenience stores, "for the sole reason of its antiquated alcohol laws."

The General Assembly in Indiana, WISHTV notes, last month killed a bill that would've permitted cold beer sales at convenience stores. Land of the free!

More Reason on alcohol regs here.

*Update: A reader writes in to let us know the state of Oklahoma also regulates alcohol sales by temperature, mandating any liquor with more than a 3.2 percent alcohol content be sold at room temperature.