The Hoosier State continues its slow march toward modernizing its alcohol laws. This past Sunday, Indiana finally allowed Sunday beer sales. Hosanna. Of course, the new law only allows businesses to sell alcohol from noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays (sales are 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. every other day), but it feels like a win for folks looking to buy beer and beyond in the crossroads of America.
Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 1051 repealed the state’s Prohibition ban on Sunday alcohol sales at liquor, grocery, drug and convenience stores. The law was spurred by an alliance/compromise between the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers (the liquor stores) and the Indiana Retail Council (big box grocers), but these two groups and their members also conspired to make sure cold beer laws would not be expanded, which basically ensures a monopoly for liquor stores which are the only venues allowed to sell cold beer in Indiana. From the IndyStar:
While the once-warring parties to the agreement hailed it as a landmark alliance to forcefully push for Sunday sales, convenience store owners blasted it as a back-room deal too narrow to merit consideration by the state legislature.
“They are cutting a deal which greatly benefits themselves, at the expense of Hoosiers who have identified the cold beer prohibition as the No. 1 alcohol reform needed in the state,” said Scot Imus, executive director of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association. “At the end of the day, it’s not the self-serving deal between the big-box stores and the liquor stores that’s the problem,” he said, “It’s the raw deal they are giving to consumers.”
It truly is embarrassing that Indiana is the only state to regulate the sale of beer by temperature, and it’s been a point of contention for years along with Sunday beer sales. The IndyStar has even published a series of stories that tracked the seedy tactics of liquor stores to prevent Sunday sales and protect their cold beer empire. The Indiana General Assembly has a commission to study the issue as well, but change is slow in Indy, so we’re not holding our collective breath. Of course, it could be worse:
Congrats, Indiana. Just be thankful your legislature doesn’t have #Alabama‘s obsession with local laws where each county, town, school district, police jurisdiction, and city block might have Sunday sales for off-premise, on-premise, etc.https://t.co/tmsmrO2RoP
— AL Brewers Guild (@alabamabrewers) March 6, 2018
Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the Sunday beer sales bill into law on Feb. 28, and stores began selling this past Sunday. In a nice sidebar: Holcomb pulled some 3 Floyds Brewing Co. beer off the shelf for his first purchase (some Gumballhead it looks like). Watch it below.