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Blue Law Blues

According to estimates by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Minnesota could raise $10 million in tax revenues simply by allowing liquor stores to sell on Sundays.

Read this brief story from Saint Paul Legal Ledger Capitol Report for more info.

But the real reason to allow liquor stores to sell on Sundays is because it’s stupid not to, right?

35 Comments

Chester Dark

about 8 years ago

couldn't agree more - one of the most stupid holdovers from some bygone puritan days. Also, why can't you buy a car on Sundays in Minnesota?

Danny G

about 8 years ago

Laws like this are inane.

Barrett Chase

about 8 years ago

One good question is why does the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association oppose the idea? One would think that the opportunity for more sales would be welcomed, not disputed. There's nothing about it on their "issues" page. I would actually like to hear one good argument against it. And no, "Because it makes Baby Jesus cry" isn't a good argument.

markm

about 8 years ago

Another question. Why can't we buy alcohol in grocery stores? Works great in WI, swing by the store on the way home from church, grab some beer, some chips and assorted goodies and get home in time for the game.

Barrett Chase

about 8 years ago

Once again, blame the lobbying power of the MLBA. I understand why they oppose that one at least, since it would cut into their business. But a lack of Sunday sales also cuts into their business. Maybe they just oppose everything but the status quo.

jen

about 8 years ago

I heard a rumor that sales at bars and restaurants are naturally slower on Sundays. With the current laws, if someone wants to drink on Sunday and has not stocked up, they are likely to go to a bar/restaurant to do so. Maybe there are bar/restaurant lobbyists involved too? We have it easy with Superior so close-- but think of all the $$ Duluth liquor stores are losing to Superior liquor stores every Sunday.

pH

about 8 years ago

Instills better planning and preparedness habits in the population. Like keeping a snow shovel in your trunk, all year round.

Calk

about 8 years ago

Thank God for Wisconsin! In Wyoming, they have drive-up liquor stores. Don't even have to leave your car.

Danny G

about 8 years ago

The drive-up (or drive-in) liquor stores are also very common in Ohio, or at least they were last time I was there. Crazy. Also, it wasn't too long ago that you could actually drink while driving in the state of Texas. Literally, it was perfectly legal to pop open a cold one while you're cruising down the highway. Ahhhh. The Danny Does Duluth Illegal Moonshine distribution business seems like a better idea everyday.

Barrett Chase

about 8 years ago

O'Neill's in Superior has a drive-up window. A couple of years ago, their sign said, "Buzz through our drive-up window."

Calk

about 8 years ago

I was driving in Wyoming and my cousin opened a can of beer and started swigging. I said, what the hell are you even doing and she told me it was legal to drink as long as one wasn't driving the car in Wyoming. Don't know about that, but I certainly was terrified the rest of the way that I'd get pulled over. I was not.

Gwanto

about 8 years ago

I've never understood the "logic" behind this one. If you'll remember not long ago (mid-90s or so?), liquor stores in Duluth weren't open as long as they are now. Also, I remember them either being closed early or not at all on Saturdays (can't exactly recall all the details right now....). Anyway, my point is, when the law was going through whether or not to stay open later and also whether or not to be open on Sundays, there was a huge bitchfest on the side of the liquor store owners and those in opposition (they were both on the same side). The biggest beef was about Sundays. The result was what is in place now. I remember talking to friends and whatnot about this back then, and my question was... so, if I understand correctly, they DON'T want more sales and would prefer that people travel across the bridge? Huh? Whether or not you drink doesn't matter. Voluntarily losing sales is just idiotic business. And for those who believe the whole "Sundays are slow" argument, on any Sunday, just sit in the parking lot at the Hammond at the foot of the bridge in Superior and see how many vehicles come off the bridge and pull into the Hammond to buy booze.

mevdev

about 8 years ago

There is a driveup liquor store in Eveleth,MN called Marge's.

adam

about 8 years ago

And no booze before noon on holidays.

skybub

about 8 years ago

I once visited a friend in Oxford, Mississippi, where the only place you could buy a cold beer was in a bar. Six packs in the grocery store were sold warm off the shelf. There was also a small mobile home parked across the county line where you went to buy bottles of hard liquor. There was a door at each end with a counter that ran the length of the trailer inside. You'd walk in the first door, buy your booze, and leave. Then you'd go in the second door at the other end of the trailer where they had big plastic cups, ice, and mixers so you could make a drink for the ride home.

Touchdown

about 8 years ago

While on tour we stopped at a liquor store in Oklahoma City to buy some beer. We walked in the door and I noticed there were not ANY coolers. I asked the guy where he kept his COLD beer. He kind of chuckled at my ignorance and let me know it was illegal to sell cold beer in Oklahoma. Wha? We had to buy a cheap cooler and some ice at the Mall-Wart next door...plus, didn't have COLD beer for an hour or two. God Bless Wisconsin!!!!

Calk

about 8 years ago

My husband & I were in South Carolina one fine Sunday evening, I ordered an alcoholic drink with my dinner at a restaurant, the server looked at me as if I were from Mars, turned out no alcohol sales on Sunday anywhere. WTF? So glad I don't live there. Would not last.

zra

about 8 years ago

@ Chester Dark: no auto sales on sundays because banks aren't open on sundays. @ calk: Wyoming and Montana have(or used to have in Montana, which has since banned open containers in vehicles in 2005) what's called "Marlboro Country" rules with regard to open containers in vehicles. Drivers and passengersare (or were) permitted to have open cans within reach, and to consume it, so long as they weren't intoxicated.

sean42

about 8 years ago

There is no booze allowed in MN state parks, but in WI state parks they sell six packs in the camp store along with firewood and ice.

chadp

about 8 years ago

I was really moved by this Duluthians' story on mpr a couple years ago when meth was getting all the headlines. http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2004/04/21_julinc_alcoholcentral/ Food for thought.

zra

about 8 years ago

what does an public radio story have to do with sunday liquor sales?

chadp

about 8 years ago

I am no prohibitionist by any measure but I think that only stating benefits in a dollar sense may miss some of the social costs of changing the law. Changing any law for that matter may have unintended consequences. I heard a study somewhere (probably mpr) that states that allowing purchase of alcohol in grocery stories have higher incidents of underage drinking. Maybe the winos need a day off? On the other hand, when I worked in a grocery store in Bemidji they sold more mouthwash on Sunday morning than the entire rest of the week. Maybe it doesn't matter. But that doesn't mean it isn't something to think about.

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

Drinking at a bar instead of buying it from a liquor store, one day a week, cures alcoholism.

Prof. Cricket

about 8 years ago

I don't care what day a group of people takes off, but I truly believe we all need at least ONE day off per week. We have become a nation of consumers and workers. One day off a week is nice. It can be a Tuesday for all I care. If you want to drink on Sunday...plan ahead. I am all for Blue Laws. When I lived in other areas and had low wage retail jobs it was really nice knowing I didn't have to work on Sunday.

Barrett Chase

about 8 years ago

I agree it's great to have days off. But this is a law that says no matter how many employees you have, you are not legally able to have your small business open seven days a week. That is just wrong. I'm all for labor laws, overtime pay, etc. Hell, I believe we all deserve two days off per week. But telling a business owner that they are not legally able to be open on Sundays, no matter what provision they make for their employees, is draconian.

Prof. Cricket

about 8 years ago

I think some small business owners actually like it. They know that they get a day of rest. I try to boycott any businesses that are open on Sunday. I won't go to the mall or other places. You can call me draconian if you want. (I will go to dinner.) Drinking alcohol isn't really that big of deal to me. What do you need a drink so bad for...and can't plan ahead? Before you think me a prude, I am actually for the legalization of drugs.

Barrett Chase

about 8 years ago

Oh, I'm not calling YOU draconian. It's the law. Actually, I personally work weekends and I hate it. But I think that if a business wants to be open on a particular day, and if customers want to frequent that business on that particular day, then it certainly shouldn't be illegal. The law would not force business owners to be open on that day. It would merely allow it. Market forces might make it necessary for liquor store owners to be open on Sundays, but the law should not be selectively protecting owners of certain types of businesses from certain types of market forces.

Prof. Cricket

about 8 years ago

I lived in a community that couldn't find anyone to work on a Sunday.It was peer pressure. Even the farmers didn't work in their field on Sunday...or should I say especially. We tried to find a place to eat dinner after church...and no place was open. At first it was weird, but I grew to like it. Plan ahead and you know you will have one day of rest.

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

I think it should be against the law to rest on Sundays.

Bob Loblaw

about 8 years ago

The argument for changing blue laws because it would allow the state to collect more in taxes is silly. Blue laws are against personal freedom and should be changed for that reason alone. Period.

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

You mean like the original post said?

wildgoose

about 8 years ago

More travelogue ... An appendix to Zra's comment on Marlboro Country. Back in my Roman Catholic Missionary Days in Central America, our principal was an American Ex-pat who moved his whole family to Central America to serve, teach and transform lives. I still admire him as a very pious man with few faults, but he -was- a steady drinker, who occasionally would bark when provoked. Oh, and he did hail from "Marlboro Country." One time a teacher he was shuttling inquired timidly about the beer he was sipping as they cruised down the highway. His (rumored) response: "You mean a man can't drive down a road with an open beer in the United States of America?!?" Totally incredulous. Another one: I too was a heavy boozer in those days and have many mostly boring stories. But this one fits the post I think. Whenever possible we would leave town and run to Mexico or the islands off the coast for basically a do-it-yourself bacchanalian festival. On one weekend at the (then) little known Tulum village euro-centric clothing optional party beach in Mexico we arrived to find that an election was looming. No alcohol could be sold anywhere in Mexico within like 72 hours of any election. That put a real crimp on the weekend, but saved me some brain cells. -- In my neighborhood, things do generally quiet down a bit on Sundays as people run through their beer usually by 3 or 4 am and are out again until at least Monday. But alcohol is only one intoxicant. If they wanted to really make "blue" laws work they would ban Marijuana and other drug sales on Sundays, too. Now that's a law I'd like to see! (*remove tongue from cheek)

adam

about 8 years ago

"...farmers didn't work in their field on Sunday..." The farmers I know work 7 days a week.

Prof. Cricket

about 8 years ago

Yes, Most of the farmers I know do too. This was a unique little community...and that's why I thought it was good. Seven days a week is too much.

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