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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Group campaigns for Sunday sales, cold beer in groceries

Drinking DobermanAn alliance of associations has mounted a campaign with the stated purpose of "moving Indiana’s alcoholic beverage laws into the 21st Century."

Hoosiers for Beverage Choices says its goal is to update Indiana law to allow the carry-out sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday and the sale of cold beer at drug, grocery and convenience stores. It points out on its Web site that Indiana is the only state that restricts cold beer sales to package liquor stores at the expense of grocery and convenience stores, one of 15 states that completely prohibits the carryout sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays, and one of three states that prohibits retailers from selling alcohol on Sundays yet allows restaurants, taverns and numerous sports and community events to sell alcohol by the drink. (They make some other logical arguments, too.)

While the casual observer might think that this is simply a movement to do away with some leftover 19th-century blue laws, it is in fact setting the stage for a battle between the package liquor store industry and the grocery and convenience store industries and, of course, their respective lobbyists. Working on behalf of the package stores will be LMV Consulting, whose clients include the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, the Indiana Restaurant Association, the Indiana Hotel and Lodging Association and the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers. Hoosiers for Beverage Choices has the support of the Indiana Retail Council, the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association and the Indiana Petroleum Council. HBC's domain name is registered to The Corydon Group, which counts Anheuser-Busch, Wal-Mart and the Indiana Township Association among its clients.

Between now and the beginning of the 2009 legislative session of the Indiana General Assembly, the two sides will begin mustering their forces and taking grassroots support wherever they can get it. This will no doubt make for some odd bedfellows — look for religious and anti-alcohol groups to lend their support to the package stores, for example. Coming off a major election year directly into a long session, this could well become a high-profile battle of epic proportions, and one that will provide plenty of entertainment for political junkies.
J. Silverheels Gray, 9:28 AM


Please don't overlook the work of While our issue is direct shipping of wine from producer to consumer, we have an alliance with those seeking Sunday sales.
Anonymous Ole, at 2:16 PM  

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