(COLORADO SPRINGS) – It is wine Wednesday for grocery stores in Colorado – a new law went into effect on March 1 that allows wine sales in grocery stores.
Ever since the measure narrowly passed back in November, local liquor stores owners have been dreading this day, saying that this new law will drive down business.
Regardless of the push back, on March 1, Safeway employees had their alarms set to wine o’ clock – stocking the shelves with Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc at 1:00 a.m.
“This is a huge change for Colorado shoppers, something they’re not used to seeing when they walk into the store,” said Andrew Fournier, a Safeway spokesperson.
This marks one of the largest changes in Colorado liquor law since prohibition.
“It’s just a convenience play for our customers… To be able to come into the store and do their shopping and then if they just want to pick up a bottle of wine, they can do that,” said Fournier.
But, convenience was supposed to be the play for local liquor stores that positioned themselves near these conglomerate grocers.
“I think the consumer wins a little bit in the beginning because of convenience. But you could just go next door and the convenience was there,” said Gregor Huesgen, Owner of Downtown Fine Spirits and Wines.
And it seems like every grocery store in Colorado Springs has a liquor store next door neighbor.
“I think lots of liquor stores will probably close down,” said Huesgen.
Even though Downtown Fine Spirits and Wines is not located near a grocery store, Huesgen still thinks his shop will be impacted.
“I’ve got low prices, I’ve got good competitive products, but I probably will not rely on all these big chain market products. I have to make myself different,” said Huesgen.
A study completed by Colorado State University compared data from the same law passed in Oklahoma, and found foot traffic decreased by 7% and 9% at urban and rural liquor stores respectively.
Only time will tell the impact this will have on local liquor stores.
“Many of the regions we operate in, they sell wine, beer and spirits. And so, you know, this is just a change for Colorado,” said Fournier.