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April 15, 2016 09:35 AM UTC

Safeway Beer Buyer: I'd Like to Sell *More* Colorado Craft Beer

  • by: YourChoiceColorado

(This post was authored by the Your Choice Colorado campaign. – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

I’m Russ Novotny, the Liquor Sales Manager for Safeway. I’ve seen Keep Colorado Local’s signs on liquor stores—the ones that claim the sale of real beer and wine in grocery stores would put Colorado breweries out of business.

I’m not sure what math they did to get those numbers. But here’s what I do know: Colorado grocery stores want to help local brewers grow.

I’d like to be able to stock real craft beer in all of our Safeway locations across the state. Colorado shoppers want to buy it, which makes it a no-brainer for our business.

But under current Colorado law, only one grocery store per chain is allowed to sell real beer and wine in Colorado. That rule means we can only stock local beer and wine in our Littleton location. At that store the demand for real beer and wine is so high that in the next couple of weeks we’re rolling out a new display to put hundreds of Colorado craft brewers front and center.

If every store could fulfill shoppers’ demand for real beer and wine, one study estimates that craft beer sales would grow by $125 million.

But Keep Colorado Local and the liquor lobby are teaming up to block progress. They’re using fear tactics to protect their monopoly on real beer and wine sales in Colorado. Without competition, they can charge nearly 20% more. They’ve continuously convinced legislators to protect this unfair system through backroom deals.

Our opposition might claim they’re on the side of brewers, but their actions tell a different story.

It’s time to stop denying Colorado brewers more access to customers and give consumers real Colorado beer and wine in grocery stores.


4 thoughts on “Safeway Beer Buyer: I’d Like to Sell *More* Colorado Craft Beer

  1. Can't fault your lack of persistence on campaigning and getting it on the front page.

    But I highly doubt the claim that $125 million MORE in beer sales would occur with passage of this initiative. We don't exactly have a shortage of liquor stores in this state, nor even a shortage of liquor stores located near major brand supermarkets, currently stocking in all likelihood MORE beer than the supermarkets would should the bill pass. (IOW, the claim doesn’t pass the smell test.)

  2. On the other hand, PR, allowing citizens to buy craft beer while shopping for groceries is certain to produce Some extra sales.  Or do you really believe that every single Coloradan will pass the beer aisle without ever once putting a six pack in their shopping cart so that they can make a separate trip across town to buy the exact product fot a higher price from the local liquor cartel.  If you really do believe that, why are you so terrified of letting me and every other legal buyer have a choice? Obviously, Safeway's argument is self-serving.  But that doesn't make it wrong and it doesn't mean the liquor cartel is fighting for consumers.


    1. If you want beer, you'll either walk next door (or stop somewhere else) or you'll grab the 3.2% in the case. Sure the supermarket will get extra sales, but I don't believe the overall volume of sales will go up. (Perhaps the money spent will go up, though – craft beer costs more…) The reason I'm against it is that I am pretty sure that the change will result in lower diversity of product – diversity which makes Colorado a great place to be right now.

      Counter-argument for the sake of having one… If you believe it will result in additional sales because of its availability: how much more higher-alcohol content do we want that easily available? We never seem to have conversations regarding the availability of the most commonly abused drug on the market, or increasing the potency of the stuff that's sold in the supermarket.

      1. That is simply not true, PR.  There is a boze shop across from my Queen Soopers at 9th and ogden.  I almost never go there.  It is expensive and time wasting.  I don't begrudge your willingness to go great distances to swell the profits of the liquor cartel.  But what gives you, or the liquor cartel, the right to force me to be equally irrational in my buying habits.  As to the strength of beer, 3.2 is by weight, 6 percent by volume.  Alcohol is 70 pct as dense as water, so there is very little difference in reality.  But if you're really serious about this, why not limit liquor stores to 3.2?  Or bring back prohibition entirely?  Thebiggest selling beer, by far, is light beer abd it is already under 3.2. So the bud light you buy at Safeway is as strong as the identical product from a liquor store.

        .  If you want a counter argument, ban alcohol entirely and limit Americans to the far less dangerous marijuana.  A genuine case can be made for that one.  

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