Colorado voters on track to reject shakeup of state alcohol laws

By: - November 9, 2022 8:55 am

A worker collects grocery carts outside the King Soopers in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, on Nov. 24, 2020. The store was the site of a previous COVID-19 outbreak. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)

Colorado voters on Tuesday appeared to reject a shakeup of the state’s alcohol laws, potentially handing defeats to two alcohol-related ballot measures while a third remained behind by a razor-thin margin.

Proposition 124, which sought to gradually eliminate caps on the number of liquor store licenses that could be held by a single owner, was decisively rejected by voters.

Unofficial results showed the measure — backed by millions in campaign funding from national retail chain Total Wine and More and its cofounder, U.S. Rep. David Trone of Maryland — receiving just 37% support with more than 1.8 million ballots counted as of Wednesday morning, with 63% opposed.


“Colorado voters spoke loud and clear that they prefer locally owned stores who provide better service to out-of-state corporate interests who want to have absolute control over the Colorado market,” Keeping Colorado Local, an opposition campaign backed by the Colorado Licensed Beverage Association, wrote in a Facebook post.

Voter Guide 2022: Statewide ballot measures

“We believe our efforts should embolden the state legislature to address the inequities established under current law and allow retailers to compete on a fair and level playing field in the future,” Scott Willoughby, a spokesperson for the pro-Proposition 124 campaign, said in a statement.

Another measure backed by deep-pocketed interests, Proposition 126, asked voters to authorize the delivery of alcoholic beverages by third-party services. The campaign in support of the measure was funded almost entirely by app-based delivery services Doordash and Instacart, according to campaign finance disclosures.

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, Proposition 126 trailed by nearly 100,000 votes, a margin of more than 5 percentage points. Unofficial results showed the measure ahead in eight of Colorado’s 64 counties, including Denver, Adams and Douglas, while trailing in the rest.

The closest of the three alcohol-related measures on Colorado’s 2022 ballot was Proposition 125, which seeks to allow grocery stores to sell wine. Currently, Colorado grocers are only allowed to sell beer and other malt beverages.

“No” votes on Proposition 125 outnumbered “yes” votes by a razor-thin margin as of early Wednesday, unofficial results showed. Just 6,000 votes separate the two sides out of a total of more than 2 million ballots cast, with hundreds of thousands of ballots remaining to be counted.

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Chase Woodruff
Chase Woodruff

Reporter Chase Woodruff covers the environment, the economy and other stories for Colorado Newsline.