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Alcohol sales on Sunday in Indiana now legal after Holcomb approves historic law

Crusader Staff Report

Gary and Indiana residents, raise a glass. For the first time in Indiana history, it’s now legal to buy alcohol in the Hoosier state on Sunday.

Governor Eric Holcomb on Wednesday, February 28, signed into law legislation that allows the sale of beer, wine and liquor on Sunday.

In a ceremony streamed live on the governor’s Facebook page, Holcomb signed Senate Bill 1, which allows Sunday sales from noon to 8 p.m. at grocery, convenience, drug and liquor stores. In January, the House voted 87-10 in favor of the legislation. The Senate also approved the bill with a 39-10 vote.

The law went into effect immediately, allowing consumers to purchase on Sunday, March 4.

Indiana has restricted Sunday alcohol sales since it became a state in 1816. According to the Associated Press, some Sunday sales were allowed for travelers during the 1800s, but that practice was banned in the 1850s.

The 21st Amendment in 1933 overturned Prohibition, but Indiana retained a ban on Sunday sales of alcohol. For decades, there were unsuccessful efforts to overturn the ban by big box retailers who argued they would lose money on a major shopping day. Now, decades of frustrations have come to an end.

The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers released a statement in response to the new law.

“It is time for Sunday Sales. The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers is proud to have worked vigorously with legislators and policy-makers on behalf of our loyal customers to achieve the historic result of allowing Hoosiers to purchase alcohol for carryout on Sundays.

“This is a landmark piece of legislation and we are grateful for the leadership of Governor Eric Holcomb, Chairman Ron Alting and Chairman Ben Smaltz as well as each chamber’s respective leadership who were able to bring together all stakeholders to navigate the difficult legislative process.  With this result, we are confident that the long-fought legislative battles over alcohol policy are over.

“Indiana’s small business package liquor stores have been preparing for this outcome for months by updating work schedules and, if needed, hiring, training and licensing new employees that reach the highest standards of safety as required by Indiana law.  Neighborhood package liquor stores have been responsible merchants of alcohol products since 1933 and are ready to open our doors on Sundays for the first time.  We are eager to welcome our loyal customers.”

For weeks retailers have been preparing for the move. Grocery and convenience stores reportedly have updated cash register software that previously prohibited sales on Sundays while liquor stores that have traditionally closed on Sunday have re-arranged schedules or ramped up staffing.

In Gary, residents, traveled across the state line to purchase alcohol in Chicago from a store called Last Chance Liquor Store. It was located at approximately 95th & South Chicago, which today would be underneath the Illinois Skyway. This store and others in Illinois have experienced a boom in alcohol sales on Sundays since Indiana’s ban in 1850.

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