A big change in Colorado liquor law is coming as Colorado’s New Wine In Grocery Stores Law Takes Effect on March 1, 2023.
On November 8, 2022, the People of the State of Colorado voted to amend Colorado law to permit licensees currently allowed to sell only beer for off-premise consumption to now also sell wine (including cider and sake.) As a result, beginning on March 1, 2023, currently licensed Fermented Malt Beverage Off-Premises Retailers (FMB-OFF) will automatically convert to “Fermented Malt Beverage and Wine Retailer.”
Fermented Malt Beverage and Wine Retailers will then have a new privilege to sell vinous liquor in sealed containers including wine, hard cider, and sake and preserves these retailers’ existing privilege of selling sealed malt beverages (beer) for off-premises consumption. Spirits are not included in this expansion of privileges.
Critically, this privilege does not apply to Fermented Malt Beverage On-Premises Retailers or Fermented Malt Beverage On/Off Premises Retailers.
Per the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division, “the State Licensing Authority will automatically issue the Fermented Malt Beverage and Wine Retailer license to existing FMB-OFF Retailers directly to the email or mailing address on file, and will send the license to the local licensing authority for their records. There will be no change to the state license number, issuance date, or expiration date.”
The Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division recently issued a Bulletin on the new Fermented Malt Beverage and Wine Retailer license
Other Important Considerations about the New Colorado Fermented Malt Beverage and Wine Retailer License per the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division:
Modification of Premises:
If the licensed premises remains the same, other than adding vinous products to these licensed premises, no modifications of premises are needed. If the licensed premises is going to be physically changed or materially or substantially altered, as per rule 47-302, then a modification of premises and fees shall be filed with both the local and state licensing authorities for approval or denial.
Temporary displays do not materially or substantially alter the licensed premises, therefore, do not need prior approval. Temporary displays could be end caps for a short period of time or temporary displays within the licensed premises for a minimal period of time. Please remember these temporary displays should not be placed in candy or soda isles or near licensed premises entries and exits to prevent minor access to alcohol products.
Privileges and Responsibilities:
The new privileges that Fermented Malt Beverage and Wine Retailers will experience after March 1, 2023, are as follows:
- The ability to sell malt and vinous (wine) products in sealed containers for off-premises consumption. This license type is not allowed to sell spirituous liquors.
- The ability to conduct tastings as long as they meet the standards of the local and state licensing authorities. Please consult your local licensing authority regarding their permit standard and authorization for tasting activities. Reference materials from the state licensing authority regarding tastings can be found at 44-3-301(10)(a) C.R.S, 47-605, 1-CCR-203-2.
- The ability to deliver malt and vinous products in sealed containers to persons 21 years of age or older, pursuant to a valid delivery permit and adhering to all delivery requirements as outlined in 44-4-107(6), C.R.S.
Distance Considerations: (this is very important for new applicants!)
- Distance restrictions will apply to Fermented Malt Beverage and Wine Retailers if they choose to change locations:
- Within 1,500 feet of a retail liquor store within the jurisdiction of a population of 10,000 or fewer;
- Within 3,000 feet of a retail liquor store; OR
- Within 1,500 feet of a retail liquor store, for the premises located in the municipality within the population of 10,000 or fewer that is contiguous to the City and County of Denver.
The distance measurements shall be determined by a radius measurement that begins at the principal doorway of the premises for which the application is made and ends at the principal doorway of the other retail licensed premises. If the premises has multiple doorways, the applicant or current licensee will designate their principal doorway with the local and state licensing authority.
- A new Fermented Malt Beverage and Wine Retailer license received by the local or state licensing authority on or after March 1, 2023, shall not issue if they are within 500 feet of an existing Retail Liquor Store.
- The exception to this distance restriction is if the new applicant can prove to both the local and state licensing authorities that they owned or leased a Fermented Malt Beverage Retail Licensed premises and, as of July 1, 2019, have applied for or received a liquor license in either of the following two manners.
- A building permit has been issued for an FMB-Off Premises Licensed Retailer Premises. The permit is active and has not expired before completing the dual licensing authority processes.
- A certificate of occupancy for a structure to license a Fermented Malt Beverage Off-Premises Retail location.
- A new Fermented Malt Beverage and Wine Retailer license received by the local or state licensing authority on or after March 1, 2023, shall also not issue if they are located within 500 feet of any public or parochial school or principal campus of any college, university, or seminary.
- Licensed premises located or to be located on land owned by a municipality;
- An existing licensed premises on land owned by the state;
- Was actively doing business before the principal campus was constructed;
The distance measurements are to be computed by direct measurement from the nearest property line of the land used for school purposes to the nearest portion of the building in which fermented malt beverages and wine are to be sold, using a route of direct pedestrian traffic.
Age of Employees:
Persons under eighteen (18) years of age – may be employed by a Fermented Malt Beverage and Wine Retailer and may handle or otherwise act with respect to fermented malt beverages and wine in the same manner as with other items sold at retail; EXCEPT that:
- Persons under 18 years of age may not sell or dispense alcoholic beverages, check ID, or make deliveries beyond the customary parking area of the retail outlet.
- Deliveries must be made by twenty-one (21) years of age or older employees of the licensed premises.
Value of Labor:
Please keep in mind that Suppliers, to include manufacturers and wholesalers of alcohol beverages, (See Regulation 47-100(F), 1 CCR 203-2), must comply with all provisions in law and rule that relate to the value of labor prohibitions and allowances outlined in Regulation 47-322(M), 1 CCR 203-2, regarding the fulfillment of product and merchandising for retail accounts; and retailers must also comply with the parameters set forth in that Regulation.
Colorado Liquor License Lawyers
Our Colorado Liquor License lawyers are ready to assist in obtaining a Colorado Liquor License. Whether you need to transfer, modify, or obtain a new liquor license, our Colorado beverage attorneys will start by addressing your needs and continue to provide guidance along the way. Your goals and bottom line are our priority. Contact the Colorado liquor license lawyers at LaszloLaw today to discuss your Colorado liquor license needs.