EDITORIAL: Booze bill is a small step for Sunday sales

 IBJ Staff
January 16, 2010
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
IBJ Editorial

More than once, we have used this space to rail against legislation that would further restrict alcohol sales in Indiana. The last thing a state with arcane liquor laws needs is more arcane liquor laws. So we are happy to be patting lawmakers on the back for advancing a measure that would begin to ease the onerous limitations on when Hoosiers can buy booze. Or craft beer, anyway.

On Jan. 13, the Senate Public Policy Committee voted 9-2 to advance Senate Bill 120, which would allow microbreweries to sell their own beer for carryout on Sundays. The measure now heads to the full Senate.

Here’s hoping we can toast its passage soon.

Unfortunately, that’s anything but certain. Some lawmakers have expressed concern over the legislation, saying they’re worried the bill could be amended to allow widespread Sunday carryout sales. Even Sen. Ron Alting, who authored the bill and chairs the committee that passed it, vowed to kill the measure if such amendments materialize.

So now we’re back to railing against alcohol sales restrictions. But let’s focus on the microbrewery bill first.

Proponents say the measure isn’t an effort to expand Sunday sales. Rather, it’s an attempt to achieve parity between microbreweries and farm wineries—which are allowed to sell their products for takeout seven days a week.

Craft brewers are at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting day-trippers to their production facilities on Sundays, they point out, since visitors can’t end brewery tours by taking home a drinkable souvenir.

“It’s killing us,” Brewers Guild of Indiana President Ted Miller told IBJ last month. “We can’t effectively market our tours on Sundays if we can’t sell beer.”

The disparity doesn’t make a lick of sense. Why would it be OK to buy carryout wine on Sundays but not carryout beer? Anyone? We think it’s telling that opponents of the microbrewery bill haven’t offered up criticism of the bill itself—just what could possibly be added to it someday.

Which brings us back to the Sunday sales ban. We will give the legislators of yore the benefit of the doubt on that and assume that it made sense once upon a time. But no more. Today’s lawmakers have no business legislating morality. If that’s even the issue. Such blue laws may have originated when Puritan colonists banned activities they considered to be immoral on Sundays, but the laws have survived thanks to modern-day self-interest.

Liquor store owners are among the most vocal opponents of a repeal of the Sunday sales ban, saying the added expense of being open an extra day would offset any additional sales revenue. And if they opted to stay closed, consumers would find somewhere else to buy their spirits.

Welcome to the free-market economy. If retailers don’t want to sell alcohol on Sundays, that’s their prerogative. The same should be true for those who see a demand and want to meet it. But it should be a business decision, not a legislative one.•


To comment on this editorial, write to ibjedit@ibj.com.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.