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The Journal Gazette

  • The Chill Indiana bag

Thursday, May 24, 2018 2:30 pm

Reusable Chill bag for beer helps convenience stores compete

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Convenience stores throughout Indiana are taking a new tack in the quest to be able to sell cold beer – a reusable bag that will chill beer and other beverages in just 15 minutes.

"The reusable Chill bags are a revolutionary take on traditional coolers because they allow customers access to readily available ice," said Scot Imus, Executive Director of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores Association.

"If customers want to buy cold beverages, such as water or soda, the bags will keep that beverage cold. Conversely, if the customer buys a product that stores are forced to sell warm, such as beer, the product will be cold by the time that customer reaches their destination."

Convenience stores have long fought for the ability to sell carryout cold beer but lawmakers continue to side with liquor stores, who have that exclusive right.

Indiana is the only state that regulates the sale of beer based on temperature.

A news release said with the reusable Chill Indiana glacier bag, the customer makes a one-time purchase of a bag and then is allowed free access to ice from the store’s fountain machine on subsequent purchases. An ice-filled bag will take a bottle or can from room temperature to an acceptable consumable temperature in just 15 minutes, and it keeps that beverage cold for hours.

A video shows how previous attempts using Styrofoam coolers and bags of ice are clumsy and also includes a picture of a liquor store with "say goodbye to overpriced scary liquor stores."

Imus said the new venture shouldn't be "viewed as a solution to our cold beer fight, as that battle continues. There remains no public policy reason to allow liquor stores to sell cold beer but deny that right to grocery and convenience stores. This innovative approach does not run afoul of the cold beer prohibition because the customer will be chilling the beer after the point of purchase.”

The bags have a suggested retail price of $6.99. Stores are expected to start carrying the bags over the next several weeks, although some may have them in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

To see how the Chill Indiana glacier bag works visit www.chillindiana.com. Customers will also be able to check which stores will carry the bags at a later date.

nkelly@jg.net