‘Landmark agreement’ on Indiana alcohol laws raises questions

FILE - In this Thursday, March 5, 2015 file photo, Budweiser beer cans at a concession stand at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Florida, USA. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the owner of the world’s biggest brewer Budweiser, on Wednesday Oct. 7, 2015, raised its takeover offer for rival SABMiller to more than 68 billion pounds ($104 billion), but the offer was rejected. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Two groups of retailers Friday announced what they called “a landmark agreement” that could lead to Sunday sales in Indiana.

But another group representing convenience stores questioned the credibility of both organizations because they don’t want changes in the displaying of alcohol that might allow convenience stores, groceries and drugstores to sell cold beer.

The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers and the Indiana Retail Council said in a news release issued shortly after noon Friday that they support ending the state’s ban on the retail sale of alcohol on Sundays, which has existed since Prohibition. But that had a caveat: No new restrictions on retailers on how alcohol is displayed in stores.

“i think people should be free to purchase alcohol especially when it’s a convenience to them to do it on the weekend,” said Haleigh Inscore from Indianapolis.

Scott Imus of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association said in a mid-afternoon news release that the partnership of the retail groups should be call into question their credibility. He said less than six months ago, the groups made entirely opposite claims.

To some Hoosiers, they care less about the cold beer sale issue though.

“I don’t understand why that really makes a difference but as long as I can buy wine or even if it’s warm beer on Sundays just for the convenience factor,” said John Collins, also of Indianapolis.

The Beverage Retailers and the Retail Council also called on tripling fines for sales to minors, increasing penalties for adults who host parties  and furnish alcohol to minors, and changes to require a mandatory age check for alcohol purchases, along with required video monitoring of store employees near alcoholic beverages.

State lawmakers were expected to take up the Sunday sales issue during the 2018 legislative session that formally begins in January.

Chairman Jon Sinder of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers issued this statement:

We applaud the commission for joining us in supporting Sunday sales.

We remain committed to working directly with legislators to successfully draft and pass meaningful and impactful public policy that will allow Hoosiers to purchase alcohol for carry out on Sunday for the first time since prohibition.

By continuing to work together, we can improve public health and convenience without compromising on safety.