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Off-sale Sunday liquor sales

Published (3/27/2009)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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The state could see its revenue increase anywhere from $4 million to $10 million annually if a law that goes back to prohibition days is stricken from the books.

Minnesota is one of the few remaining states that retains one of the so-called “blue laws” prohibiting Sunday liquor sales. HF1294, sponsored by Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Mpls), would change that.

Before the bill was held over March 24 by the House Commerce and Labor Committee for possible omnibus bill inclusion, a provision was removed that would have allowed for vehicle sales on Sunday as well.

Supporters of Sunday liquor sales emphasized that all surrounding states have removed the ban, and that stores in border communities lose sales. The change would put them on an even playing field with their competitors in other states and with on-sale establishments.

“It’s about fairness,” said John Wolf, owner of Chicago Lake Liquors in Minneapolis. “This antiquated ban is out of step with most Minnesotans. … It is only fair to admit that there are alcohol sales on Sunday,” he said referring to on-sale establishments.

While the ability to be open would be optional, liquor store owners opposing the measure say they will be forced into opening if their competitors do so.

“Sunday is my day off. Sunday is my family day,” said Brian Bluhm, owner of Top Ten Wine and Spirits in Cottage Grove. He contends that liquor manufacturers are behind the push, but that “greed is no justification for Sunday sales.”

The bill has no Senate companion.

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