Former state Sen. Beverly Gard has been replaced as the chair of the Indiana Alcohol Code Revision Commission. House Speaker Brian Bosma appointed former state Rep. Bill Davis to take over.
While a lawmaker, Davis was known to be a staunch opponent of expanding alcohol sales. That worries some advocates of expanded alcohol sales and distribution. Political analyst John Ketzenberger says this could cause concern for those wanting to pick up a cold six-pack at a convenience store.
“Expansion of cold beer sales to grocery stores and convenience stores for instance, will have a more difficult time gaining the approval of the commission,” Ketzenberger says.
However, political watcher Ed Feigenbaum says Davis could surprise people.
“When Bill Davis was chair of the House Committee on Public Policy, expansion of cold beer sales got their first ever legislative hearing,” Feigenbaum says.
Davis says his views haven’t changed much since he served in the legislature.
“I still feel the same way I felt about making sure that we are moving the process forward in a way that is helpful to the people of the State of Indiana; in their best interests,” Davis says.
Last week, Monarch Beverages – the largest alcohol distributor in Indiana – announced it would be shutting down wine distributions due to being unable to receive state approval to distribute hard liquor.
CEO Phil Terry says it doesn’t matter if Davis keeps with his prior views, because the damage has already been done.
“The ability to service the liquor needs of our suppliers, is now moot. We’re out of the business,” Terry says.
Davis says he has not been in touch with anyone on the committee, including former chair Beverly Gard.
He says he’s only been able to do a little research into what the commission has been working on.
“I have not ever been to one of their commission hearings, so I’m not real sure where they are in the process on a number of these issues, but I’m certainly more than willing and happy to work with these folks,” Davis says.
Davis says he’s not sure when he’ll chair his first meeting of the commission.
This story has been updated with comments from former state Rep. Bill Davis.