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Full-strength beer battle coming to a head

Tom Mullen of Eagle-Vail could see 20 years of hard work in the retail liquor business evaporate if the state legislature passes a law allowing full-strength beer to be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. Backers of the legislation — H.B. 1192 — sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, and Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo, argue it’s time to roll back the Prohibition-era holdover mandating that only weaker, 3.2-percent-alcohol beer be sold in such stores. But Mullen, who owns and operates West Vail Liquor Mart, argues the 1,650 independent liquor retailers in Colorado will be devastated by out-of-state corporations controlling the market.