Jay Ricker has made his name throughout Indiana with fountain drinks – known as “Ricker pops” at his convenience stores – but the Ricker name could soon be known for something else: cold beer and alcohol on Sunday, The Herald Bulletin in Anderson, Ind. reported.
Ricker is hoping to rally Hoosiers to change Indiana’s blue laws — those that prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sunday. In addition to blue law abolishment, Ricker wants lawmakers to allow stores like his to sell cold beer, the newspaper reported.
Ricker is part of the group “Hoosiers for Beverage Choices,” an organization lobbying to change what they say are unfair laws favoring liquor stores and limiting customer choices.
According to the group’s Web site, “The goal of HBC is to update Indiana law to allow for the carryout sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays and the sale of cold beer at drug, grocery and convenience stores.”
The group is hosting an online petition to drum up support for its cause. So far, 10,000 Hoosiers have lent their names to the movement, HBC claims.
Ricker is most concerned with the cold beer part of the campaign.
“We’re not asking people to sign a petition so you can buy a quart of Jack Daniel’s at a convenience store.” If the law were passed, Ricker said, he’d focus on selling cold beer and wine in select stores. In all, Ricker owns 30 convenience stores spread over Madison, Allen, Delaware and Henry counties. None of the stores carry alcoholic beverages.
Ricker said current liquor laws in Indiana favor liquor stores. “What I think is the most unfair is that anybody who has a grocery, convenience or drugstore cannot sell cold beer,” he said. “The liquor stores have always had a very strong voice in shaping those rules, and they’ve made it so that they’re the only ones who can sell carryout that’s cold.”
The benefit of changing the law, he said, would be enjoyed not just by retailers.
>“We think the playing field needs to be leveled,” Ricker said. “Obviously we’d get sales, but the consumer, too, would be better served. It’s limiting competition, and that’s not what America is all about. It’s about having competition.”
Under the current law, Ricker could sell warm beer at his stores, but he chooses not to.