Over the past year, there have been varying pushes by convenience stores and supermarkets to crack into the liquor selling industry. In Colorado, the only stores that can regularly sell full strength liquor or beer are full-time liquor stores. One of the first things I noticed when moving to Boulder (admittedly a college town) was the fact that there was at least one liquor store for every commercially zoned block. Many of these stores would be muscled out by mega-marts undercutting their prices on staple beer and liquors. While large liquor retailers, like LiquorMart or TotalBeverage will get along just fine, the smaller stores will slowly cease to exist. What this would bring to the state is 3-fold:
- Less liquor license revenue. With the right to sell full-strength alcohol resting only in the hands of small-ish liquor stores, the state gets more revenue from the sale of liquor licenses than it would if the mega-marts had the same ability. There are some 1600 licenses in the state currently, and that number would decrease rapidly if mom-an-pop stores were bought out. Business license and tax revenues goes along with this concept.
- Fewer jobs. Along the same line, with the current system, the large amount of small, dedicated liquor stores means more jobs. If the supermarkets are allowed to sell liquor, many of those extra retail jobs would disappear.
- Less variety. Supermarkets have their own national distributors, and it is often hard for micro and craft breweries to get onto supermarket shelves. In Colorado, because of the high number of independent liquor stores, there is a higher level of competition in the market. I know I choose what liquor store to go to based not on location or convenience, but by selection and price, and I have plenty of option to choose from.