Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hoosiers May Now Buy Liquor on Sunday

This Sunday, for the first time ever, Indiana's liquor stores will be open for business. Indiana becomes the 41st state to allow Sunday liquor sales, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

You might expect liquor store owners to celebrate the change, but they won't. Such is the peculiarity of politics in the highly-regulated world of alcohol.

Consumers, of course, almost universally favor Sunday sales. Those with religious objections are mainly the ones who don't. Also unhappy about the change are liquor retailers in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky who enjoyed a little extra business on Sundays from thirsty Hoosiers.

So why did Indiana liquor store owners oppose the change? Let's call it unenlightened self-interest. Enlightened self-interest would dictate that, as a retailer, I should favor anything my customers favor. That is the essence of a customers-first business philosophy, isn't it?

Most Indiana liquor store owners didn't see it that way. Naturally, the new Sunday sales law applies to every type of retailer licensed to sell alcohol, which includes supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, etc. (Alcohol by-the-drink in bars and restaurants has been legal for many years.) It is expensive for a liquor store, normally closed on Sunday, to open for an additional day, whereas those other stores are already open on Sunday. Their additional cost to sell liquor on Sunday is minimal.

Indiana's liquor store interests spent at least $150,000 lobbying state lawmakers in recent years, on this and other issues, and have donated more than $750,000 to those lawmakers since 2010, according to research by the Associated Press.

One privilege retained by liquor stores is the sale of cold beer. Indiana is the only state that regulates beer sales by temperature. In Indiana, only liquor stores can sell cold beer.

And now they can sell it on Sunday.


Brian McDaniel said...

So the liquor laws are still bizarre and irrational. But in Indiana they are now a little less bizarre and irrational.

Anonymous said...

Brian McDaniel said...
"So the liquor laws are still bizarre and irrational. But in Indiana they are now a little less bizarre and irrational".

Yes and in Indiana the liquor store owners/interests have directly contributed to the bizarreness and irrationality. And about to taste their own medicine. This is what happens when advantage in business is attempted not via better product/selection/service but rather by using the force of law.

I have good news for them: when I travel, I always visit big liquor stores, not Walmart or Target. Because I am not there to buy basic blends, I am looking for selection - rare expressions, store picks, single cask, etc. I do travel through Indiana, hopefully they can have my business in the future.