Liquor stores fear push for Sunday alcohol sales

Some Indiana liquor store owners worry that a push to allow Sunday alcohol sales in the state could hurt their businesses
if lawmakers were also to permit grocery stores to sell cold beer.

Broadway Liquors owner Mary Paulson said allowing
grocery stores to sell cold beer would cost her Chesterton business and other liquor stores their sole competitive edge.

the one thing we have," she told The Times of Munster.

Losing that edge, and the potential of having to
stay open seven days a week if the state approves another proposal to allow carryout alcohol sales on Sundays, could deal
a fatal blow to yet another round of mom-and-pop stores, Paulson said.

"Do we all just want to shop at Wal-Mart
the rest of our lives?" she asked.

The General Assembly’s Interim Study Committee on Alcoholic Beverages will meet
Wednesday at the Statehouse to begin analyzing the bans on Sunday and Election Day alcohol sales. Public testimony will be
taken Sept. 15.

State Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, vice chairman of the panel, says lawmakers are on "a fact-finding
mission" and want to weigh the pros and cons of lifting the bans before making a recommendation when the full Legislature
reconvenes in January.

Grant Monahan, spokesman for The Alliance of Responsible Alcohol Retailers, which is pursuing
the changes, said the proposals are all about saving consumers money and providing them with greater convenience.

stores typically charge more for cold beer, which is a practice Monahan said would be discontinued if the sales are extended
to other retailers.

Monahan said lifting the carryout ban on Sundays would serve customers by allowing them to pick
up alcohol along with food during a single visit to a grocery store. He does not buy the argument that liquor store owners
deserve the day off.

"I think that’s a weak argument and a self-serving one," he said.

Victor Solano,
who owns DeKalb Street Liquors in Lake Station, believes the proposed change in the sale of cold beer will fuel the risk of
underage drinking because there is no age limit to enter or work in a grocery, convenience or drug store.

Indiana State
Excise Police announced last month that an undercover investigation found liquor stores were nearly twice as likely to sell
alcohol to underage consumers than grocery or drug stores.

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