Commission advances proposal for Sunday alcohol sales

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana could be closer to alcohol sales on Sunday.

Larry Belcher, dean of the University of Indianapolis School of Business, said, “I think from the standpoint of consumers, they just want choice.”

On Tuesday, the Alcohol Code Revision Commission signaled its support for Sunday alcohol sales. It voted to include a preliminary draft that, if approved, would legalize sales from noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.

During the commission meeting, State Sen. Phil Boots, a Republican from Crawfordsville, voiced his support for not only Sunday sales but also cold beer sales in groceries, drugstores and other locations.

“I don’t have any reason to believe we shouldn’t be selling cold beer. If we’re going to sell beer, sell it cold … or sell it warm. Whatever the retailer wants to do,” Boots said.

Tuesday was the first meeting since two large groups announced a compromise in the alcohol debate last week: Liquor store owners agreed to support Sunday sales while, in return, retailers will oppose a proposal allowing convenience and grocery stores to sell cold beer.

Boots said, “We need to address the concerns of the public. The people who are buying this product, as long as they’re buying it legally.”

Judge William Boklund sits on the commission. “It’s a very difficult problem. I’m focused on the small population that disregards the law and causes great harm.”

UIndy’s Belcher said, “It’s been a long protracted battle, as long as I can remember, to keep them (cold beer) in package stores. At least now it seems like those on that side of the debate are putting out some sort of compromise. It seems like we’re moving toward some sort of solution.”

About the panel’s recommendation, Jon Sinder, chairman of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers said in a 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.”

The panel is scheduled to meet two more times in December. Tuesday’s draft will be put into the panel’s final report which is expected to be voted on in early December.