Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Legislative libations 2: Sunday alcohol sales, with a huge question mark attached ...

Chris Sikich of the IndyStar provides an overview of this year's model, i.e., Sunday alcohol sales legislation, and it's one of the best pieces I've read on the topic, given that  "booze on Sunday" in America is a far more predictable harbinger of tribalism than a topic for dispassionate discussion.

Sikich duly notes recent Sunday carry-out exceptions for Indiana's small breweries, and the long-standing exemption for small wineries. I might add that while the Brewers of Indiana Guild has interest in a few bits of legislation possibly being considered in 2013, this isn't one of them. As a guild director, believe me when I say that we have our own side of the street to work -- and we're doing so. This particular issue isn't our fight.
Disclaimers aside, and speaking only personally, part of me is eternally annoyed that "moral" considerations as defined by religious interests should be a part of the Sunday equation at this late date. Another part entirely understands that small independent business surely will suffer if big boxes go into Sunday sales. I'm forever willing to sock it to the preachers and health fascists, but at the same time, giving an inch to mega-retail chain-think is odious to my own inner moral structure.

When I'm declared dictator, it's an easy call: Let the indie package stores open on Sundays if they wish, and keep the chains shut tight. Then again, some might say I'm an extremist.

In the end, Senator Alting probably is right: Change will be incremental, in bits and pieces, because such hesitancy truly reflects a state of division in the state of Indiana.

Need I add: Support your local breweries and wineries. That's the best solution, and it beats the Silver Bullet every damned single time.

Sunday liquor sales battle brewing: An effort is afoot to change Indiana's law, but owners of liquor stores say the move would be devastating, by Chris Sikich (IndyStar)

Indiana is the toughest place in the nation to buy take-home beer or liquor on Sundays.

While most states limit Sunday alcohol sales in some ways, Hoosiers face the broadest restrictions.

Indiana prohibits Sunday sales of beer, wine and liquor at grocery and packaged liquor stores. Connecticut lifted a similar ban in May, leaving Indiana standing alone.

The longtime ban has remained in place for religious and economic reasons. And though it has been eroded somewhat in recent years, state lawmakers trying to do away with the ban this year aren't hopeful.


Iamhoosier said...

Using the economic reasoning of the "independent" liquor store, Home Depot, Lowes, Tractor Supply, Rural King, Walmart, Target, etc ought to be banned from selling on Sunday, too.

I understand the anti chain mantra but that ain't the way to to do it. Make your case for customers to patronize your business. Don't ask the the government to do use "bans". Remember prohibition?

The New Albanian said...

Here's a FB comment and my reply:

Michael Johnson: As much as I am sympathetic to the "small guys", my take is you either do what the customer expects...or die. If you're not open during business hours (Sunday or otherwise) that other restaurants, bars or stores are open...then don't be surprised when customers go elsewhere. A free marketplace should be just that....Free. Myself, I love to shop local but when local ain't around....Sunday sales should happen regardless of who it hurts or doesn't hurt.

NA Confidential (Roger): You're going to win in the end. I made this same argument for years from the perspective that Indy-centric politicians never see money streaming across state lines on Sunday. My private opinion is that the small package guys who matter (i.e., the ones who have diversified into product lines and thought processes that big boys don't grasp because those lines and thoughts are absent payola as usual) will be fine. I hate giving an inch to chain think. In the end, I probably detest insidious religious interference even more.

The New Albanian said...

IAH: I'm also a bit constrained here in the sense that I must separate personal from guild business. The guild genuinely has no position. Personally, it's a question of what annoys me most, and preachers usually win that coin toss.

Iamhoosier said...

Both arguments against Sunday sales are equally bunk. If, for religious reasons, you think buying alcohol on Sunday is wrong--then don't buy it. It's that simple.

Jeff Gillenwater said...

Much of the same can be said of casinos. If gambling is OK, make it legal. If not, then make it illegal. Using the debate as state sanctioned king making is counterproductive on many levels.