Commission backs lifting Sunday alcohol sales ban as debate rages on

Sunday alcohol sales debate
Sunday alcohol sales debate

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Sunday alcohol sales and cold vs. warm beer are just two of the issues under consideration by the state's Alcohol Code Revisions Commission.

The commission decided Tuesday to support the Sunday sale of alcoho, but held off on the beer issue.

Two of the three sides in the debate have crafted a deal squeezing out the convenience stores, so Tuesday, the state got to weigh in on the deal.

"They have all flip-flopped. That's why I call it the 'corrupt bargains.' They are one way one day and the next day they are another way. The consensus is, Indiana wants to be able to buy cold beer anywhere where there is a license and they want Sunday sales," Ricker's CEO Jay Ricker told Eyewitness News outside the meeting in the Senate Chamber Tuesday.

But the beverage retailers or the liquor store lobby and the Indiana Retail Council, or the big box stores, cut a deal to repeal prohibition on Sunday alcohol sales. Tuesday, the Alcohol Code Revisions Commission got to weigh in on that.

"Is this really a smoke screen to get what you want?" Eyewitness News reporter Kevin Rader asked Jay Sinder from Crown Liquors.

"It's not a smoke screen or a diversion. Now is it's time and cold beer is something that I hope never occurs," Jay Sinder from Crown Liquors responded.

The liquor store lobby is arguing allowing competitors to sell cold beer will increase underage drinking.

"Consensus want to have cold beer and they want Sunday sales. The liquor lobby is doing everything it can to keep cold beer in the monopoly it is with them right now," Ricker said.

State Senator Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville) just wants to see everyone playing by the same rules.

"I want a level playing field. Sunday sales. I want cold beer and I want everyone to be responsible in their sales," said Boots.

The Senate Chamber is full of lobbyists representing one side or the other, but Boots says one thing is missing.

"'Joe 6 Pack,' if that is what you call him, needs to have a voice. The individual that is actually going to the package store, convenience store or the bar is not well represented in this commission," Boots said.

So we set out to see what Hoosiers outside the Statehouse thought about these two issues.

"We have a tradition of not having liquor sales on Sunday and I don't see why switch now? So don't change it. I would say keep things as they have been. No reason to expand it. Some people have problems with alcohol. You can always buy it Monday through Saturday, so why go to Sunday?" Mathew Dunscombe said about Sunday sales.

Gloria Kermeen talked about the ongoing debate regarding sales of cold beer and warm beer.

"I can see giving the liquor stores a little bit of an advantage, because the big box stores are getting the business for everything anyway so let’s give some business to the small businesses," she said.

Karla Williams was torn when it comes to Sunday sales.

"I am undecided, because we have a lot of crime going on so I don't know if it's a good thing to be doing on Sunday. And then on the other hand, people should be able to do what they chose to do," she said.

Eric Park weighed in on the cold vs. warm beer debate.

"Any establishment that can sell beer should be able to keep it cold. That is just silly," he said.

The commission did look for a show of support when it comes to Sunday beer sales but no official vote was taken.

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