Charities that auction off alcohol in fundraisers — wine baskets and the like — will no longer be breaking the law in Colorado.
Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday signed into law Senate Bill 67, which legalizes a practice that long has been common in the state, but that actually has been a violation of Colorado’s liquor code.
Sponsored by state Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada and Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, the law allows organizations to auction sealed beer, wine and spirits without the transaction being considered a sale of alcohol that would violate the license of any facility where a fundraiser is being held.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on March 1, 2018, signs into law a bill that allows charitable groups to auction donated alcohol. Sponsoring state Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp is over his right shoulder and co-sponsoring Sen. Rachel Zenzinger smiles over his left shoulder.
Zenzinger got the idea for the bill after hearing that state officials were cracking down on these auctions in certain parts of the state.
She included in the bill a safety clause that allows it to go into effect immediately, so that events like The Arc of Pueblo’s upcoming Golden Tortilla fundraiser won’t be affected by limitations on donations of goods for auctions.
Any change to alcohol law typically turns into a battle royale at the Legislature, as competing liquor-selling interests defend their territory and seek to expand sales.
That fervor renders efforts like this year’s proposed regulation of full-strength beer sales in grocery stores among the most heated battles in the Capitol.
However, Zenzinger said that before she moved forward on SB 67, she sat down with all of the interests and found they were OK with changing rules to increase charitable giving of booze — a discovery that left her pleasantly surprised.
“When I started, I was definitely trepidatious over what could happen, given our history down here with liquor bills,” she said.
“I think a majority of legislators didn’t know this was illegal. And I think everybody understood charities wanted to be legal and wanted to do right.”
2017 Largest Colorado Wineries
Ranked by Cases produced in 2016
Rank Company name Cases produced in 2016 1 Colorado Cellars 20,000 2 Talon Winery LLC dba St. Kathryn Cellars and Meadery of the Rockies 11,592 3 Two Rivers Winery 10,600 View This List