Looks like there is a big push underfoot to get the General Assembly to allow liquor sales on Sunday. They dodged it last year by claiming they had too many other things on their plate. Eventually, on hopes, legislators will have to lift the ban on Sunday liquor sales or explain their rationale.
Keith Roysdon, writing for the Muncie Star Press, has an article entitled “Blue over Beer.” Liquor stores claim that they will be put at a disadvantage to chain grocery stores if Sunday sales are allowed. In my mind, this matters only if liquor store owners can make a case as to why they ought to be some sort of privileged class. Sympathy isn’t exactly the first feeling that comes to mind when I think of liquor stores. There are certainly exceptions, but for the most part in my experience, they are grim, slightly seedy places. Unlike the romantic vision we have of the family farmer — who we are routinely called upon to subsidize — there is no mythological mom & pop liquor store that brings visions of a better time.
I should add that there are a handful of liquor stores that would be a loss. These aren’t shabby stores that rely primarily on selling 30 packs of Stroh’s and staffed by minimum wage employees who obviously hate their lives. Rather, they seem to be staffed by owner operators who really know and have a passion for their product. They stock good beers and wines and can tell you all about them. Locally, in Lafayette, the Village Bottle Shoppes have some of these good qualities.
The current Sunday prohibition on alcohol sales is an anachronism. It was enacted, according to the Roysdon article, as a sop to anti-liquor activists in the wake of the repeal of Prohibition. With booze being available on Sundays in restaurants and bars, it no longer makes any sense –if it ever did– as a moral stand against the evils of demon alcohol.
The article has an interesting argument/counter-argument by the liquor store owners versus the big grocery stores. The liquor stores claim that excise police can more easily stop sale of alcohol to minors at liquor stores because it’s obvious that anyone coming out of a liquor store has purchased alcohol. The grocery store owners cite a study saying that liquor stores are twice as likely to sell to minors. And, obviously, none of this has much to do with Sunday sales — my recollection as an underage drinker was that I mostly was looking to do some binge drinking on Fridays and Saturdays.
Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t fear a world in which most of the mass produced booze is routed through box stores but where there are fewer, better liquor stores, with knowledgeable owners and employees, that act as specialty shops for craft beers and wines.