The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers and the Indiana Retail Council, representing liquor stores and grocery stores respectively, have partnered to ask the General Assembly to legalize Sunday alcohol sales.
But they're also pushing against legalizing cold beer sales in convenience stores.
The partnership comes as members of Indiana’s Alcohol Commission prepare their final recommendation for state lawmakers.
Scot Imus is executive director of The Indiana Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association, which represents convenience stores across the state.
Imus notes the liquor store industry has strongly opposed Sunday sales in the past, and says the retail council has partnered with them to advocate for cold beer sales. He says the switch from both groups is likely designed as a compromise to guarantee Sunday sales.
"But it’s certainly a reversal, for both groups, of long-standing public policy that they’ve testified about before the General Assembly for the last decade," Imus says.
Jon Sinder is co-owner of Crown Liquors and chairman of the Association of Beverage Retailers.
Sinder says it's unsafe to sell cold beer in convenience stores. And he says the industry's position switch on Sunday sales, which he claims happened in 2015, is in response to what he calls a growing consensus among Hoosiers.
"It’s just one of those things that it’s time," Sinder says. "It’s been clear to me, personally, that it was not a matter of if, but when."
Sinder says the proposal to allow Sunday sales is a win for all retailers, including convenience stores.
Here is the rest of the proposal from The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers and the Indiana Retail Council, from a statement sent on Friday:
- The IABR and IRC strongly oppose the expansion of the sale of cold beer in Indiana.
- The IABR and the IRC believe that the sale of alcohol should be strictly regulated and that the existing regulations regarding cold beer are important safety measures.
- IABR and IRC strongly oppose new restrictions on the type and variety of adult beverage products sold and displayed by drug and grocery stores.
- IABR and IRC support significantly increasing the fines for sales to minors. Tripling the fines would generate funds that could be used to increase the number of excise officers.
- The IABR and the IRC support strengthening and increasing penalties for adults who host parties and furnish alcohol to minors.
- While the IABR and the IRC recognize that alcoholic beverages are now sold responsibly in Indiana, both organizations support changes that would require a mandatory age verification check for alcohol purchases; and require video monitoring or the presence of store employees in close proximity to the sale and/or display of alcoholic beverages.