Brooke Cape works to restock the shelves in the beer cooler at Southside Liquors in Steamboat Springs on Friday afternoon. Local businesses are less than thrilled about legislation allowing Sunday sales that Gov. Bill Ritter is schedule to sign Monday.

Photo by Brian Ray

Brooke Cape works to restock the shelves in the beer cooler at Southside Liquors in Steamboat Springs on Friday afternoon. Local businesses are less than thrilled about legislation allowing Sunday sales that Gov. Bill Ritter is schedule to sign Monday.

Sunday liquor sales likely

Ritter set to approve measure; local businesses less than thrilled


— Sunday liquor sales are almost a certainty.

Gov. Bill Ritter is scheduled to sign legislation Monday allowing alcohol sales at retail stores starting in July, according to a news release. The reaction among Steamboat Springs retailers was lukewarm, though most stores said if the law is enacted, they plan to be open that seventh day.

"It went just fine without being open on Sundays," said Ted Heid, who owns Southside Liquors. "I thought, 'What a business to be in; I have football Sunday off.' : Now, they took that away from me."

Heid said he saw the measure, state Senate Bill 82, as a promotion of corporate interests. He said he thinks grocery stores will use it as an argument in trying to persuade the state to allow them to sell wine and beer with higher alcohol content.

"It's a bad deal," Heid said. "We know where our government is from. They're all corporate."

As it stands, only grocery and convenience stores can sell alcohol on Sundays. They can sell beer that is 3.2 percent alcohol.

A spokesman for a grocery and convenience store trade group said the measure harms his industry. Sean Duffy of the Rocky Mountain Food Industry Association called the bill flawed and said it would have unintended consequences.

"This will, in essence, prohibit and eliminate beer convenience stores all over Colorado," Duffy said.

If full-strength beer is available, he said, consumers will have no reason to buy 3.2 percent beer. Convenience and grocery stores then would have no reason to stock the product, he said.

"If I were a liquor store owner, I'd love the legislature to remove my competition," Duffy said. "I don't know any other arena where the legislature basically scoops up other businesses' revenue to protect one set of retailers."

He said his group wants the government to allow all retailers to sell full-strength beer seven days a week.

Several local liquor stores said they did not expect to see their sales increase.

"We'll probably do average sales on Sunday, and Monday's numbers might actually go down a little bit," Cellar Liquors Manager Chris Gibbens said. "I think it will be different in winter because a lot of people get in town on Saturday and then might get a chance to shop for booze on Sunday."

Heid said he expected Saturday and Sunday to split sales.

"I don't think it's going to be as good as the politicians want you to believe it's going to be," Heid said.

Pioneer Spirits owner Jeff Worst said he had seen statistics indicating sales increased 10 percent when other states began allowing sales on Sundays. Despite the possible revenue growth, he said he wasn't happy with the incoming rule change.

Sunday is just a nice day not to work, he and other owners said.

"There's a misconception that the old 'blue laws' were the reason this hadn't come to fruition," he said of Sunday sales. "It's actually that small-business owners across the state wanted that day for their families."


mama 8 years, 11 months ago

No one is forcing the liquor stores to stay open - go home and be with your family if you want, keep the store closed. The measure simply allows more freedom to shop owners and offers customers more choices. Free market competition remember? its what business in this country is all about.


skijor 8 years, 11 months ago

I support the new law for availability of alcohol sales on Sunday but it doesn't go far enough. If we truly want the free market at work, then grocery/department/convenience stores should be allowed regular (non 3.2) alcohol sales as well. In other areas of the country and world it's a wonderful thing to be able to pick up your dinner items and a nice bottle of wine or beer at the same time.


sickofitall 8 years, 11 months ago

And we feel bad for Mom and Pop shops like Alpine Electronics? Gimmee a break!


twostroketerror 8 years, 11 months ago

If I recall, one of the other plans was to allow groc. stores to sell full strength beer and wine Mon thru Sat and keep the liquor stores closed on Sun. The current bill was the liquor store owners answer to that.


armchairqb 8 years, 11 months ago

Hey since the cops have to work seven days a week now they can sting small business owners on Sunday instead of sitting around eating donuts.


handyman 8 years, 11 months ago

Last time I was in California (28 years ago) I was shocked to see an aisle in the grocery store that was devoted entirely to hard liquor. I grew up in Washington where all hard liquor was sold only in state run liquor stores. Looks like we're somewhere in the middle. I agree with mama. Ted Heid, who owns Southside Liquors, can still have his Sundays. He doesn't have to be open.


hubiem 8 years, 11 months ago

when i lived in west virginia you could buy 190 proof liquor in a grocery store as well, but couldn't buy any alcohol until after 12 noon on sunday.

where i grew up was a dry township in ohio that had absolutely no alcohol for sale whatsoever. no bars, no carry out, no drive through, and no liquor stores.

i've seen both extremes, and we definitely are in the middle. however, i don't remember people drinking any more or less in either place. i really think people will drink what they want when they want, no matter what the laws are. that being said, the whole 3.2 beer thing is pretty stupid.

i tell every tourist that i see buying beer in the grocery store that it isn't real beer, and not to buy it there. most are unaware, and are also very thankful. some are even angry that they already wasted money on multiple cases of beer earlier in their vacation and were wondering why they couldn't get drunk. one guy last week said to me, "i thought we were in colorado, not utah!"

most people have never even heard of 3.2 beer unless they are from minnesota, kansas, utah, oklahoma, or a handful of other places that sell 3.2 beer. or they are old enough to remember when the drinking age went up from 18 to 21 and people between 18-21 were allowed to buy 3.2 beer.

if liquor stores selling on sunday brings about the end of 3.2 beer, then i'm all for sunday sales.


dave reynolds 8 years, 11 months ago

the only difference between 3.2 beer and 6.0 is one can per six pack and sometimes 6.0 isn't it only has to be above montana the bars can sell liquor as if they were an outlet so after the last call everyone would just buy there cases and hard liquor there at an extreme mark up of couse if some stores here want to open on sunday let them..personally i think its just a way to get a little more revenue for the state


hubiem 8 years, 11 months ago

your math just doesn't add up. 2 x 3.2% = 6.4% so at 6.0% it takes almost twice as many 3.2 % beers to add up. this would actually be 5 more cans per six pack if you are actually comparing 3.2% beer to 6% beer.

i agree with you that some beers are just a little over 3.2%. those are mostly light beers and generally are at least 4% or above. most "non-light" beers are usually somewhere around 5%.

check this out:


justathought 8 years, 11 months ago

"some are even angry that they already wasted money on multiple cases of beer earlier in their vacation and were wondering why they couldn't get drunk.", REAL GLAD SOME PEOPLE HAVE THEIR GOALS STRAIGHT.


hubiem 8 years, 11 months ago

that is a lot of people's goal when they are on vacation. why do you think mexico has so many all inclusive resorts that are all-you-can-drink. people want to cut loose after a day of skiing. welcome to reality. you live in a tourist town, and when tourists are on vacation, they want to get drunk.


JazzSlave 8 years, 11 months ago

hubiem has touched on what I find to be one of the most consistent irritants to life at a resort destination the notion that intoxicants need to be central to any attempt to "blow off steam." It's an attitude that has filtered down to our kids and entrenched itself into the outlook of Steamboat at large, in my opinion.

It really hit me in the wake of the Oak Creek mess last year (or was it the year before?) when those kids were lost in the explosion. I was amazed at how many people who parroted some version of "there's nothing to do if you're not 21." Can't have a good time if you're not loaded, in other words.

I don't care whether or not people can buy a bottle of Stoli on Sunday. It's sad that so many appear to feel they're being deprived if they can't.


grannyrett 8 years, 11 months ago

JazzSlave-Right on! It's sad that some people don't know how to have a good time unless they are loaded. It's really sad that some think having a good time is being loaded. What is saddest of all is the message this sends to our kids. Can't have a holiday without booze. New Years Eve-Gotta have the booze! Gotta party! Fourth of July? Bring on the beer! Thanksgiving-Make a stop at the liquor store before going home! Christmas? On and on and on. Then, we wonder what to do to stop underage drinking. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out folks.


corduroy 8 years, 11 months ago

don't need alcohol to enjoy life and be happy considering its sort of a "want" more than a "need" we certainly sell a lot of it. Worries me who is driving around with enough of a buzz to crash into me


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