New push for Sunday liquor sales

In this file photo, liquor bottles are shown in a grocery store aisle. (File Photo: WISH)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Pressure is mounting to allow for liquor sales on Sunday. A new coalition was formed Tuesday morning to change a law that’s been around for nearly a century.

“This is a prohibition-era law that makes no sense,” said Cam Carter of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. “We’re on the side of competition, the consumer, and common sense.”

The group calls themselves Hoosiers for Sunday Sales. It’s made up of representatives from stores like Marsh, Wal-Mart and Kroger.

“Consumers want the ability to do all their shopping at one time, at one location, and that includes purchasing a bottle of wine or a case of beer,” said Grant Monahan, the Executive Director of the Indiana Retail Council.

“As long as I’m prepared, it’s OK, but usually I’m not. So, Sunday would be fine, would be good,” said Jeri Ford, who was shopping in Kroger.

Hoosiers for Sunday Sales estimate the state is losing $10-$12 million a year by not allowing the Sunday sales.

But groups representing smaller liquor stores, like Crown Liquors, say this will hurt their members.

“We just celebrated Small Business Saturday, and so then today we turn around and say go screw you small business,” said Patrick Tamm, CEO of Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers.

For the first time, public opinion seems to be in favor of Sunday sales. According a WISH-TV/Ball State Hoosier Survey, 52 percent were in favor, 46 percent opposed.

“The number is compelling and it is a majority of consumers who want the ability to do on Sunday what they can do six other days of the week,” said Monahan.

There also appears to be support in the Statehouse. Rep. Tom Dermody, the new leader of the House Public Policy Committee is reportedly authoring a Sunday sales bill, and Senator Ron Alting who chairs the Senate Public Policy Committee said he will consider a bill.

But those opposed to the sales say this is putting big stores against smaller retailers.

“Big box retailers have successfully changed main street throughout the country and this is a continuing effort to change main street throughout Indiana,” said Tamm.

Indiana is one of the last remaining states prohibiting Sunday liquor sales. Stores in Connecticut started selling liquor on Sundays in 2012. According to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services, within the first few months of their law being enacted, liquor sales increased by 3%.

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