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Federal Judge: Beer-Only Sales at Kentucky Grocery Stores Unconstitu?tional

A federal judge's ruling could open the door to the sale of hard liquor and wine in grocery stores.

Currently state law allows grocery stores to only sell beer, while liquor stores and drug stores can sell beer, wine and liquor. After years of unsuccessful lobbying to change the law, grocery associations sued in federal court last year. U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II in Louisville handed down a ruling in their favor today, declaring that the ban is unconstitutional.

?"From the basic ruling that we'?ve been unfairly excluded from being able to obtain, to apply for, liquor licenses that may be available in an area. And now the grocers will be able to compete in that marketplace," says Ted Mason with the Kentucky Grocery Association and the Food With Wine Coalition.

Mason and others aren't declaring victory just yet. The ruling is not final. The judge is holding off on allowing its enforcement until unspecified but related issues can be worked out.

Kenny Colston is the Frankfort Bureau Chief for Kentucky Public Radio (a collaborative effort of public radio stations in Kentucky). Colston has covered Kentucky's Capitol and state government since 2010. He is a Louisville native, and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. When he's not tracking down stories about Kentucky politics, you can often find him watching college sports, particularly football.
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