New Indiana group advocates Sunday alcohol sales

It's been around since the repeal of prohibition some 75-years ago: the Indiana law banning the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

Now, some feel it’s time for a change.

Indiana is in the minority. It is one of only 15-states that completely ban carry out sales on Sunday.

The pendulum seems to be swinging the other way. In the last six years, 13-states that used to ban Sunday sales have repealed those bans.

The last state to do so was Colorado.

At the Pop Shop in northern St. Joseph County—near the state line—you can buy thousands of items.

However, on Sunday, there are two items you can’t purchase.

"The only thing we can't sell on Sunday is beer and wine,” says store owner Bill Mitchell.

Those are two items that Hoosiers can buy so long as they take their business a couple of blocks north across the state line.

"I think a lot of these regulations come from older days, in the past and they're probably not quite appropriate with today's society,” said Mitchell.

Grant Monahan with Hoosiers for Beverage Choices agrees: “This goes back to the repeal of prohibition, 75 years ago. Society was different, shopping was different."
Hoosiers for Beverage Choices has set up a website that advocates taking a new look at the old law.

"Sunday is the second busiest shopping day,” said Monahan. "A study that was done two years ago, and is still fairly relevant, showed that Indiana was losing about eight million dollars a year in sales tax revenue, because we didn't have Sunday sales." Monahan stresses that the state sales tax has since been increased.

Indiana lawmaker Jackie Walorski sits on the House Public Policy Committee. If the debate over Sunday sales moves into the legislature, that’s where it would likely start.

"I've been a legislator for four years I've never had one person call me and tell me they want to buy booze on Sunday,” Walorski said.

She believes that the issue is being manufactured, and she suspects that the real bottom line---is the bottom line.

"There's no logic in this kind of issue, it's a money issue in somebody's pocket. It's obvious that this will be another turf war…whenever you deal with alcohol issues, probably in any state, but specifically in Indiana, its turf wars between those who can and those who can't do whatever they want to do at the moment with alcohol because alcohol is closely regulated."

Indeed, this particular Sunday sales campaign has divided alcohol sellers into two separate camps.

Grocery, drug and convenience stores are behind it. Liquor stores are not.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that liquor stores are opposed to Sunday sales. What they’re really opposed to is the campaigns second goal; to allow grocery, convenience and drug stores to sell beer and wine—cold.

That’s something liquor stores now have a monopoly on.


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