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Federal Judge: Beer Wholesalers Still Can't Sell Liquor

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Dawn Ellner
/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/naturesdawn/

 

A federal judge has rejected a plea from Indiana's largest beer wholesaler to sell liquor.

Monarch Beverage sued to get rid of Indiana's law that prohibits beer wholesalers from dealing liquor (and vice versa) -- they have to choose between the two. The company says this law is an equal protection violation and thus unconstitutional.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker says Monarch, in her words, "entirely failed" to show there's any company being treated differently.

“There still remains litigation that’s pending on similar types of issues and the reasoning that I sided [with] in Judge Barker’s order," he says. "I would be surprised if it wasn’t at least referred to in some of this pending litigation.”Alcohol and Tobacco Commission Chairman David Cook says he can’t comment in detail on the issue, but he is happy with the ruling.

Monarch's suit argued wine wholesalers, unlike beer wholesalers, can sell liquor.

Barker calls that "a thin reed" -- she notes a many regulations draw a distinction between beer and wine, making them too dissimilar to support an unequal protection claim.

She says it's not the court's job to judge whether the law is a good one, as long as there's a reason for it.

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