The Indiana legislature is making some bold proposals this session. Happy Hour could come back to the Hoosier State if proposed legislation is successful, and hotels would be able to serve complimentary drinks to their guest in areas where alcohol is not sold.

A cocktails-to-go provision was introduced and in the same bill a “craft manufacturer” was defined.

There is a new mandatory $500,000 liability insurance requirement for renewing liquor licenses and there must be proof of insurance presented to the Commission.

There also seems to be a wholesaler fight brewing (no pun intended) this session. Beer distributors want in on the RTD craze that presently escapes them. When Budweiser Parent, Anheuser-Busch, bought Cutwater it changed the game. Bud distributors want Bud products in their portfolio and Cutwater they see as theirs. If they succeed, what will the pushback be from the liquor folks?


HB 1086 is the most major liquor legislation this session. The bill makes several important reforms.

Happy Hour provisions-The first reform is bringing back happy hour to Indiana craft manufacturers and retailers. Happy hour is limited to four hours in one day, and fifteen hours in one week. The four hours in a day can be divided into nonconsecutive periods. Price reductions are prohibited between the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.

The uniform pricing rules do not permit a retailer or craft manufacturer to increase prices for a specific time period, unless the permittee provides paid live entertainment not incidental to the services provided.

Hotel Changes-Hotels would be allowed to serve alcohol to registered guest and their guest in an area of the hotel where alcoholic beverages are not sold at no additional charge.

Craft manufacturers-The bill defines a craft manufacturer for the first time to include the holders of a small brewery, farm winery and artisan distiller’s permits.

Insurance requirement-The bill requires a craft manufacturer and retailer’s permit holders to obtain a liquor liability insurance policy of $500,000 and to provide proof of insurance to the Commission before applying for or renewing a permit. After June 30, 2024, one cannot be issued, renew, or transfer a permit without proof of insurance.

If a retailer or craft manufacturer renewed their permit before July 1, 2024, they must comply with the insurance requirement before January 1, 2025.

Cocktails-to-go-Beer, wine, and liquor retailers would be permitted to sell to-go drinks subject to container and package notification requirements

Unlawful provisions-The bill proposes to add a couple of unlawful provisions into the law. It would prohibit a retailer from running or sponsoring a contest where the contest is determined on the amount of alcohol consumed or maintain a contest awarding alcohol or reduced prices as prizes for the game.

The second unlawful provision would ban the selling or serving of an unlimited or indefinite amount of alcohol for a fixed price. No more endless Mimosa

HB 1025-This bill would allow beer wholesalers to distribute mixed beverages and make changes to the wholesaler laws.

The bill creates a definition of mixed beverages to include a prepared cordial, cocktail, or highball in a can or container no more than 24 ounces. A mixed beverage is considered a mixture of whiskey, neutral spirits, brandy, gin, or another distilled spirit; and carbonated or plain water, pure juice from a flower or plant or other flavoring materials. The ABV on a mixed beverage is limited to 15% alcohol.

The legislation permits wine wholesalers to sell mixed beverages. This is significant because Indiana provides for combined wholesale license of beer and wine or liquor and wine, so putting distribution under a wine wholesaler license allows a beer distributor, who generally can’t distribute liquor, to be able to distribute mixed beverages through its wine wholesaling privileges.

But this is not the only proposed change to distribution laws, the legislation would negate the prohibitions on a wine wholesaler that holds a combination liquor/wine permit from obtaining a beer wholesaler permit, from possessing, selling, and transporting beer or selling more than 1,000,000 gallons of flavored malt beverages.

With the proposed lines blurring on what constitutes a beer and liquor distributor, will the liquor distributors clamor for more rights? For example, beer distributors maintain franchise protections, liquor wholesalers do not maintain these same protections, will there be fight to obtain these privileges for liquor wholesalers?

SB 204-Would create a direct shipping permit for beer.

SB 205-Would allow a small brewery to manufacture beer for another brewery subject to certain restrictions. Upon completion of the manufacturing process, the beer must be transported to permit holder for which the beer was manufactured.

To qualify for this arrangement, the permit holder, who beer is manufactured for, must have manufactured not less than 40 barrels of beer in the previous calendar year, and the amount of barrels contract manufactured for the permit holder cannot exceed the number of barrels produced from raw materials on the permit holder’s premises.

Essentially this law proposes that a brewer needs to meet a minimum substance level before entering into a contract manufacturing arrangement.