Liquor stores are suing and neighbors are complaining as the Walgreens pharmacy chain seeks permits to sell alcohol at its stores in Indiana, the Indianapolis Star reported Feb. 27.
Walgreens stopped selling alcohol about a decade ago but wants to resume such sales in central Indiana. Opponents in Indianapolis and other areas say that the area already is oversaturated with alcohol outlets, and the state's beverage retailers have filed suit over the issue.
Some Walgreens stores in Michigan, Arizona, Missouri, California and elsewhere already sell alcohol. In 1990 the chain was the nation's largest liquor outlet, but cited inefficiencies in dropping alcohol sales that year. Rival CVS continued to sell alcohol in some of its stores.
“A corporation that once said it would never sell alcohol is now essentially turning its once family-friendly drugstores into liquor stores,” said John Livengood, CEO of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers. “Those scores of applications forced us to the courts when we documented that many of those new permit requests are exceeding the legally established quota system in Indiana.”
Many see the conflict as part of a long-running battle over control of alcohol sales in the region, which in the past has seen liquor stores pitted against supermarkets and big-box retailers.