Convenience stores

Can you now buy whiskey at convenience stores in Colorado?

A friend of mine was very excited to find out that she could buy a fireball shooter at the 7-11 where she was, while enjoying a Saturday. ‘Whiskey? At a 7-11? The investigation has begun.

In 2019, it became legal for grocery stores and convenience stores in Colorado to sell full-strength beer, after years of holding just 3.2% beer. Liquor stores weren’t thrilled about this, but they’re still the only places to get hard liquor, like whiskey.

That’s why that Fireball shooter my demon bought had me so intrigued. She got it in a 7-11 at Longmont, so I thought maybe it was some kind of Boulder County exemption from Colorado law. It didn’t seem fair either, even though it was Boulder County.

My thought was, if they were selling whiskey, where’s the tequila? Where was the wine? What if we drank vodka for a Saturday? It just didn’t fit. I had stopped at a 7-11 after work and only found beer in “alcoholic” coolers, and no “Fireball display” as my friend had seen at the counter:


TSM/Dave Jensen

My friend and I teamed up the following Saturday to find “Fireball” whiskey at a Loveland 7-11; there had to be a logical explanation.

Our first stop was a complete mistake, as it was Eisenhower and Monroe, right across from Monroe Elementary; they didn’t even sell beer because it’s in a school zone. Whoops.

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Our second stop revealed that they had indeed had two of the displays full of shooters, but one was stolen, so the owner removed the other. “We need to find one of those shooters,” I said.

We eventually found a 7-11 that had a display of shooters, behind the crate, away from where someone might steal a shot or the entire display.


TSM/Dave Jensen

It certainly had the Fireball label all over it; I guess I was expecting some sort of copycat marketer. The label stated 16% alcohol, as opposed to 33% Fireball at full strength. We immediately went to a real liquor store to get one of their Fireball shooters.


TSM/Dave Jensen

What’s wrong with the 7-11 fireball?

The fireball you buy at Colorado 7-11 (and maybe other convenience stores around the state) is actually….. flavored malt liquor – that is, strong beer.

Although it looks a lot like whiskey (minus that real “burn” bite at the end), it’s just a way for Fireball makers to make a quick buck or two on impulse buyers. These seem to have hit the market in 2021; although they have only recently been sighted in the Fort Collins area.

So here is. The investigation has been concluded: read the fine print and you will find that you are not buying whiskey at all, just another beer.

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