Momentum is Growing to Repeal Sunday Liquor Sales Ban

Updated: 03/06/2014 6:42 PM By: Todd Wilson

A Democratic state senator and Republican representative are offering fellow legislators a range of different routes to what they say is an inevitable destination: repeal of Minnesota's prohibition on Sunday liquor sales.
Democrat Roger Reinert of Duluth and Republican Jenifer Loon of Eden Prairie are teaming up to weaken or scrap the ban. They laid out their strategy at a press conference Thursday.

"We are offering the legislature a full spectrum of choices. Everything from a full repeal to some local option choices," Sen. Reinert said.

One of the options would be to test the waters with growler and tap room sales.

If the legislature doesn't make any progress on this issue, Reinert wants to put it in the people's hands. "Then let's put it on the ballot and let the voters decide," he said.

Many mom-and-pop liquor stores oppose Sunday sales because they say it forces them for competitive reasons to be open a seventh day of the week without increasing profits. Their lobbying has been influential in keeping the ban in place.

KSTP spoke with nearly a dozen liquor stores in the Twin Cities. All of them said they were against Sunday sales, including Haskell's.

"There isn't any added reward, you are not going to do another day's worth of sales. A lot of our friends just tell us you just disperse what was your Saturday business over Saturday and Sunday," Ted Farrell of Haskell's said.

Meanwhile there are some business owners, like Jamie Robinson, in favor of repealing the ban.

Robinson is one of the owners of Northbound Smokehouse Brewpub at the intersection of 38th Street and 28th Ave. in south Minneapolis. They started selling growlers last May, and sell about 25 growlers a day. It's about 19 percent of their beer volume sold. He would love to sell the jugs of beer on Sunday.    

"People come in here with a growler exchange in their hands on Sundays and we have to turn them away. We don't like giving people a bad experience, we'd like to have that sale," Robinson said.

All states bordering Minnesota currently allow Sunday liquor sales.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.