INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana General Assembly passed a bill Friday that would close the “cold-beer loophole" used by the owner of Ricker’s convenience stores.
Two of Ricker’s gas stations received alcohol permits after they opened restaurants on their property in Sheridan and Columbus.
“Our industry, if it’s going to survive long term… needs to ramp up the food offering,” said owner Jay Rickers previously. “We’ve remodeled 17 of our stores where we have the space to accommodate a restaurant.”
Because of those remodels, Rickers said they were able to apply for liquor licenses at two of their locations. After a few tweaks to those restaurants, the licenses were approved.
The House approved the bill on an 84-13 vote. The measure passed the Senate on a 43-1 vote.
The bill was passed on the Gov. Eric Holcomb for final approval.
Chairman of Ricker’s convenience stores, Jay Ricker, released the following statement following the bill’s passing:
“Despite overwhelming support both for Ricker’s restaurants and an overhaul of our state’s outdated and outrageous liquor laws, the General Assembly again decided to ignore the will of the people and reward those who have rewarded them. Those of us who believe the free market should offer as many choices as possible for consumers will be watching the General Assembly and will hold its leadership and its members accountable to their pledge of reforming these Depression-era laws. From the very beginning of this discussion, I made it clear that I understood this was a difficult and complicated issue, but I also stated several times that I was willing to compromise and have a good faith debate about the future. Instead, it is clear from the legislation passed this week that Ricker’s restaurants were specifically targeted for punitive action by legislators. For reasons known only to them and their generous supporters, the leadership in the House and Senate struck a blow against basic Hoosier fairness. Make no mistake, if this can happen to Ricker’s it can happen to any business, any time.”