LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Five months after voters decided to allow wine sales in grocery stores, Wednesday was the first day grocers could sell it.
At the King Soopers off Wadsworth and Alameda in Lakewood, customers were quick to notice the brand new section.
“Yes! Yes, finally today, it was exciting,” said Ginny Calderon. “I don’t have to do, you know, two trips.”
In November, voters approved Prop 125, by a small margin, to allow grocery and convenience stores to sell wine.
It’s one of the largest changes in Colorado liquor laws since Prohibition, and a controversial one.
Liquor stores have long warned this could devastate their business, and many of them are small and locally owned.
But the “yes” votes say this was a vote for customer convenience.
“Absolutely,” said Lara Lehnerz, a firm “yes” vote on Prop 125. “I said, ‘About time.’ You go to Arizona, [and] you can go to the store and get anything. Now it’s time to bring on the whiskey and other liquor!”
Lehnerz, like other customers, was curious about the wine inventory on day one. She and others strolled through at a leisurely place Wednesday, inspecting their options.
“So far so good,” she said. “Good selection.”
“The last week or so has been full of excitement as our stores have been preparing to fill these shelves,” said Jessica Trowbridge, corporate affairs manager for King Soopers. At the Lakewood store, the wine was temporarily set up in the seasonal aisle, between Easter items and the dairy section. Eventually, King Soopers reps said, that store will set up a permanent home for the wine in what is currently the housewares aisle.
Other stores are also in various stages of temporary or permanent setups for wine sales.
“Once the sets are expanded into full place, well look to have between 1,000-1,500 items for customers to choose from in our stores,” Trowbridge said. When asked if every King Soopers store will sell the same product, she said – not necessarily:
“I think it will depend on how the product moves. I think our goal is always to meet the needs of our customers so we’re looking to make sure we have the fare, if you will, that our customers are looking for. And there will be some brands that will obviously be consistent throughout stores, but other stores will have different size sets and selection.”
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