Indiana Doubles Down on Warm Beer

R Street's Jarrett Dieterle writes about Indiana's whacky "cold beer law" in his monthly column for The American Conservative. The Hoosier State prevents gas stations and grocery stores from selling that Great American Elixir known as an ice-cold six pack:

Indiana lawmakers recently announced that they plan to study the state’s outdated alcohol laws this summer with an eye toward reforming them for the 21st century. While this is an encouraging sign, the road that led to this legislative soul-searching involved a missed opportunity to reform the state’s infamous “cold beer law” and underscored the cronyist forces Indiana reformers are up against.

Although nearly every state has outdated and arcane alcohol laws, Indiana’s cold beer law stands out as one of the most bizarre. In its present form, state law allows only liquor stores and restaurants to sell carryout beer that is either “iced or cooled.” Gas stations and corner convenience stores are relegated to selling room temperature brews. Like many antiquated state alcohol laws, this rule grew out of the aftermath of Prohibition. After the 21st Amendment repealed Prohibition, Indiana passed the 1935 Liquor Control Act, establishing various types of retail licenses for alcohol. These classifications evolved over time to create a distinction between retailers who could sell cold beer and those who could not.

The convenience store chain Ricker’s appeared to find a loophole in the law last year by obtaining restaurant permits for two of its stores after they also started selling reheated burritos and installed seating for diners. With these restaurant permits in-hand, the stores began selling refrigerated beer.

Rather than viewing this development as a sign of a woefully outdated law, Indiana lawmakers were up in arms.

Read the whole column here: has previously covered the debates surrounding Indiana's cold beer law here and here.