News and Tribune

June 30, 2010

Let’s see some ID: According to new law everyone must show

proof of age to buy carry-out alcohol

By DAVID A. MANN
David.Mann@newsandtribune.com

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — If you’re feeling old because that convenience store clerk didn’t ask to see your identification when buying beer, don’t worry. It shouldn’t happen again.

Under a new state law, everyone buying packaged alcohol to consume off site is required to show ID. The law was passed by the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year and goes into effect today, along with a host of other state laws.

Any retailer that gets caught selling alcohol without first asking for a drivers license or government-issued identification commits a class B misdemeanor under the new law. According to the statute, all individuals should be carded. However, it also says that, in a criminal or administrative proceeding, it is a defense for a seller to claim the person appeared to be more than 50 years old.

Some stores aren’t taking any chances.

Chris Howard, owner of Rivertowne Liquors on Hamburg Pike in Jeffersonville, already has a sign on his door telling patrons that they will be carded regardless of how old they look. He started the program early, just to get customers acclimated to it.

“It’s actually a good thing,” Howard said during an interview. “Now, you’re not judging. You don’t have to guess.”

Customers of the store were generally accepting of it, as well.

“I think it sucks because I’m 53,” Brenda Wise joked as she showed her identification and made a purchase. However, she added, “I think it’s a good way to go” to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors.

“It doesn’t bother me in the least,” said shopper Mike Smith — not the Jeffersonville City Councilman of the same name.

And shopper Wanda James said she, too, was OK with the law, though she added that it might lead to a few longer lines at convenience stores.

Howard said alcohol sellers should be ready for the new policy, noting that the state’s trade association has sent out signs and other information about it.

Trade groups have supported the move, including the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association

The law applies to all off-site alcohol retailers — convenience stores, grocery and drug stores — not just liquor stores. It does not apply to bars or restaurants that serve alcohol that is consumed on site.

Also effective today, microbreweries or brewpubs will be allowed to sell carry-out beer on Sundays.