INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb made history Wednesday by signing a new law that
will legalize the carryout sale of alcohol on Sundays.
efforts to overturn the law foundered among bickering by interest groups -
most notably liquor store owners, who stood to lose business to big box
retailers on a major shopping day.
But that opposition
evaporated this year. Starting this Sunday, Hoosiers will be able to buy
carryout alcohol between noon and 8 p.m. at liquor stores, convenience
stores, pharmacies and big box retailers across the state.
absolutely no need, any longer, to make a run for the border,” Holcomb said,
referring to the time-honored tradition, for those living near Indiana’s
borders, of crossing state lines to purchase alcohol on a Sunday. “Today is
a big day ... it’s all about the consumer.”
So will the
governor exercise the new right this Sunday? Holcomb hinted yes, noting a
cookout is planned at the governor’s residence, while suggesting he aims to
purchase “Hoosier-themed” libations.
Here’s a look at
SOME BOOZE HISTORY
restricted Sunday alcohol sales since becoming a state in 1816.
Some Sunday sales
were allowed for travelers during the 1800s, but that practice was banned in
the 1850s. An exception was made for alcohol use for “sacramental,
mechanical, chemical, medicinal, or culinary purposes,” according to an
overview published by the Indiana Law Journal.
The passage of the
21st Amendment in 1933 overturned Prohibition, but Indiana retained a ban on
Sunday sales of alcohol.
Indiana is becoming
the 41st state to allow Sunday liquor sales, according to the Distilled
Spirits Council of the United States.
The new law will
allow an estimated 3,800 liquor stores, groceries, pharmacies and
convenience stores to sell any alcohol products between noon and 8 p.m. on
Sundays. Restaurants and bars have long been allowed to sell alcohol by the
glass Sundays, but those with carryout licenses will also be able to offer
such sales seven days a week.
sales can begin this weekend after legislators amended the bill two weeks
ago to make it effective immediately upon the governor’s signature. The
initial versions of the bill had it taking effect July 1 - the date
typically set for most new Indiana laws.
The change will
increase convenience for consumers, but a state legislative report projects
no significant increase in alcohol sales or state revenue from alcoholic
beverage and sales taxes.
Bills to repeal the
Sunday sales ban failed repeatedly in the Legislature, caught up in a battle
between liquor stores and big-box retailers.
Liquor store owners
long opposed lifting the ban because they faced an additional day of
expenses while expecting little increase in sales. Grocery stores and
pharmacies that were already open on Sundays could see more sales with
little increased costs.
interests flexed their muscles at the Statehouse, spending at least $150,000
on lobbying in recent years while donating more than $750,000 to lawmakers
since 2010, an Associated Press review found last year.
Association of Beverage Retailers gave way this year, focusing instead on
preserving another unusual alcohol law, which gives liquor stores a
stranglehold on the sale of cold beer in the state.
They struck a deal
with the Indiana Retail Council before the legislative session started,
agreeing to support Sunday sales in exchange for the Retail Council opposing
legislation that would allow the big-box stores they represent to sell cold
WHAT HASN’T CHANGED
A big part of the
reason lawmakers took up Sunday sales this year is because of a bitter
legislative fight that erupted in 2017 over which stores can sell cold beer.
It’s a right
primarily enjoyed by package liquor stores, though convenience stores have
long sought for the ability to sell cold beer, too, instead of the room
temperature beer and chilled wine they can currently sell.
A push by the
Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association for expanded
cold beer sales went nowhere this year. That leaves Indiana as the only
state that regulates beer sales by temperature, according to the trade
Roughly 61 percent
of Indiana residents think convenience and grocery stores should be able to
sell cold beer, according to a 2017 poll conducted by Ball State
University’s Bowen Center for Public Affairs. That’s more than the 58
percent of those surveyed who supported allowing Sunday carryout alcohol