Letter: State’s treatment of Ricker’s unfair

From: Clyde Myers


Recently, an Indiana-based company, Ricker Oil Co. Inc., expanded its operations into Columbus with the opening of a new Ricker’s location at 1711 25th St., which serves as a gas station, a convenience store and a restaurant. In accordance with Indiana state law, the company purchased and configured its restaurant infrastructure and obtained the proper license to sell beer and wine inside the restaurant portion of the store as well as carry-out. The company broke no laws and indeed went to great expense to ensure proper and complete compliance.

Since then, Ricker’s has come under scrutiny because the type of license that it purchased from the state allows it to sell cold, carry-out beer, which is a privilege typically reserved for liquor stores and, to a lesser degree, more traditionally formatted restaurants. It has gone so far as the Indiana Statehouse. Republican representatives authored and passed legislation (HB 1496) to redefine the term restaurant so that the Ricker’s operation would no longer be in compliance and would not be able to renew its license, even after investing in the infrastructure necessary to conform to the previous regulations. Again, Ricker’s broke no laws. The Indiana House moved the legal goalpost on Ricker’s, effectively singling it out and dealing a tough blow to a Hoosier company competing against both giant mega-chains and government-protected monopolies.

This issue brings to light a pervasive and unacceptable set of infringements on the personal freedoms of adult Hoosiers that stifles competition among legitimate businesses, thereby harming consumers through limited choice and inflated prices. The state of Indiana is giving Ricker’s competitors an unfair advantage over it by using the power of the state to shut down fair competition.

Additionally, by intervening and interfering with private business matters of Ricker’s based on Indiana Title 7.1, the state government has set the precedent that it is the entity that sets and enforces the standard of morality for law-abiding, adult Hoosiers, rather than those law-abiding, adult Hoosiers themselves whom we believe are quite capable of making their own choices, and if they make the wrong ones to suffer their own consequences.

The Libertarian Party of Indiana, specifically the Bartholomew County and Jackson County chapters, will be at the Columbus Ricker’s location at 3 p.m. June 11 to support this Hoosier brand and to protest HB 1496 and a myriad of other intrusive Indiana alcohol laws that are designed to dictate morality and stifle competition at the expense of consumers and local economies. Please feel free to come down and have a beer with us to show your support. If you’re going to drink, please bring a designated driver and bear in mind that Indiana’s public intoxication laws are very vague. We look forward to seeing you there.