The Sneaky Way Gas Stations Are Getting Around Indiana's Beer Laws
The Chill Indiana Bag highlights the state's contradictory blue laws
Plenty of place have puritanical laws governing where, when, and how you can buy alcohol. New Yorkers can buy beer in the grocery store, but not a bottle of wine. Utah won’t let you buy anything above 4.0% alcohol by volume outside of as state-controlled store. And perhaps strangest of all, Indiana gas stations and convenience stores can only sell beer at room temperature.
Thanks to an ingenious new product, however, the Hoosier state’s gas stations may have found a workaround for those who want to crack open an actual cold one. Meet the “Chill Indiana Bag”, a resealable cooler bag with a suggested retail price of $6.99 that promises to turn your beer from warm to cold in about fifteen minutes. Customers who bring theirs to participating gas station can fill their Chil Indiana bag up with ice for free, avoiding bulky styrofoam containers and liquor store prices in the process.
While no doubt useful given the circumstances, the bags are meant to serve a broader purpose. Created by the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (IPCA), they’re an attempt to draw attention to the current law and highlight the need to overhaul Indiana’s alcohol regulations.
“There remains no public policy reason to allow liquor stores to sell cold beer but deny that right to grocery and convenience stores," Scott Imus, executive director of IPCA told the IndyStar. "This innovative approach does not run afoul of the cold beer prohibition because the customer will be chilling the beer after the point of purchase."
Long one of many states to enforce so-called “blue laws” limiting alcohol sales, the 2018 legislative session has seen Indiana’s lawmakers relax laws forbidding the sale of alcohol on Sundays. A state commission is currently reviewing other alcohol laws (like the one that restricts cold beer sales to liquor stores and restaurants) to determine if further changes should be made. Any changes could be introduced later this year.
Given that one Hoosier made headlines last year for turning part of his gas station into a “restaurant” that served reheated burritos in an effort to circumvent current policy, it’s clear that some have gotten heated when it comes to putting up with the law. At least in the short term, the bag should help to cool things down as the mercury rises.