Nearly a year and a half after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law a measure allowing Colorado grocery chains to get more than one full-strength liquor license, two metro-Denver stores have bought out existing liquor stores’ licenses and received permission from the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division (LED) to set up retail liquor operations within their locations.

A Costco Wholesale at 8686 Park Meadows Center Drive in Lone Tree purchased the licenses from two nearby liquor stores in order to open its own liquor operations. And on Thursday, the LED approved the application of the King Soopers at 15051 E. 104th Ave. in Commerce City’s Reunion neighborhood to purchase licenses from two Commerce City liquor stores.

The moves are the product of the June 2016 signing of Senate Bill 197, which is regarded as the biggest shift in Colorado alcohol-sales laws since the 1933 repeal of Prohibition.

The bill, passed on the final day of the 2016 state legislative session, eliminated the 83-year-old restrictions limiting retail store operators to just one full-strength liquor license and allowed grocery chains to obtain as many as 19 more licenses per chain before 2037, when all restrictions on corporate liquor-store ownership go away.

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