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Out of Date Alcohol Laws Need to Go

When I was working in Washington, D.C. and living in Virginia I was stunned to find I could find my brew of choice at the local Giant cold and ready for purchase…on a SUNDAY!  Why was I surprised?  After living the first twenty three years of my life here in my wonderful home state of Indiana I knew it was fruitless to get cold six pack at the grocery store, let alone remember to purchase it before the Sunday Colts game.  I got so used to it that when I moved back to Indiana, I forgot that I couldn’t do that any more (at least the purchasing it on Sunday part).

When legislation came up in the General Assembly last year that would do away with those silly laws that date back to prohibition, I was pretty hopeful that legislators would see the light of these foolish laws and Indiana’s antiquated alcohol code would be revamped.  Turns out I was wrong.  While some surface changes were made to the existing laws, no real substantive changes were made.

But something caught my eye when I saw this tweet from Hendricks County GOP Chair Mike O’Brien:

RT @rogerh Change Indiana’s outdated alcohol laws. Visit

I had to check it out.  I was pleased to find out that the movement to change these age old laws continues.  But why do they need to change?  Consider:

  • About $9 million in tax revenue is lost each year to alcohol sales in neighboring states
  • You can’t buy alcohol on Sundays at your neighborhood grocery store, but you can drink as much as you want at a bar, restaurant, or Colts/Indians/Pacer and then drive home (Brilliant!…note heavy sarcasm there)
  • On any other day of the week you can buy beer at a drug store, grocery store or convenience store, but Indiana law says it must be sold at room temperature (Huh?!)

Am I alone in thinking it’s a good idea to change these laws?  Not at all.  State Representative Phil Boots R-Crawfordsville will be leading the charge in the General Assembly next year.  In the Indianapolis Star Boots was quoted as saying “These laws have little base in policy and are in large part meant to protect one segment of our retail industry,” liquor store owners.”

Hoosiers for Beverage Choices is pushing two goals: 1) Sunday carryout sales at retail locations and 2) Cold beer sales at Indiana’s drug, grocery and convenience stores that are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages.  And these two don’t exist, why?

Here’s the deal.  I’m not being courted or paid to support this.  I support these changes because they make sense.  These are changes that should have happened a long time ago.  And despite Indiana’s relatively decent position economically in tough national times, adding an additional $9 million dollars in tax revenue to the rolls sounds like a good idea to me.

You’ve read what I think.  What do you think?

(The views in this post are mine and mine alone.)

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