It’s history. Lafayette liquor, grocery stores prepare for March 4 — first Sunday sales

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Published: Feb. 25, 2018

BY: Shannon Hall, Journal & Courier

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — It’s almost here. Less than a week away.

Sunday. Sales. And while customers may be joyous about it, liquor stores have mixed feelings.

On Thursday lawmakers gave final approval on the bill that will allow Sunday alcohol sales in grocery and liquor stores. The final step for passage is Gov. Eric Holcomb’s approval.

350 Liquors Manager BJ Kelley says he’s very excited about the planned alcohol law change.

“We’re going to open the (Sunday) they say it,” he said. “So if they approve it next week, we’ll be open March 4.”

According to the IndyStar, Holcomb said Thursday morning he plans to sign the bill and promised not to let “too many Sundays” pass before he does.

Once Holcomb signs the bill, it will be effective immediately. Alcohol sales will go from noon to 8 p.m. at stores while people can still purchase drinks from restaurants or breweries from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.

For Kelley, it’s another day they’re open. Right now, they are required to be closed and that’s not great business.

“You got to figure you’re paying rent on your building and keeping the beer cold, but the doors are locked and you’re not making any money,” Kelley said.

He doesn’t expect any business loss by having 350 Liquors open on Sundays.

“I feel like it’s going to be business as usual,” Kelley said. “I don’t think it will cut down on my sales any because so many people making trips to the state line now. … I think it will only increase our sales.”

Kelley doesn’t plan on hiring additional employees. Instead, he looks at it from an employee standpoint.

“Most of my employees are part-time, so it’s another way for them to make money,” he said.

Ann Vhu, Brawlers Liquors general manager, said she does think it will be more expensive for them because they’ll have more hours to work.

Vhu said she’s not personally a fan of Sunday sales.

Because Brawlers Liquors is a family-owned business, she wants to spend Sundays with family.

Right now, the store’s not sure if it will be open on Sundays or not.

“It really depends on what the other liquor stores do,” she said. “If they all decide to stay closed, that’s what we’ll do. And if they open up, we’ll do that.”

Village Bottle Shoppes Owner Dan St. John said he doesn’t think the sales will change much by having Sunday alcohol sales.

“I think some of our Saturday sales will shift to Sunday, but I’m hopeful we’ll do enough busy that will cover the overhead,” he said.

The four West Lafayette liquor stores will be open the first Sunday they’re allowed.

But overall, it’s going

“I really don’t know what to expect,” he said. “We’ll see in the following weeks. … We’re looking forward to it.”

Larry Cox has owned Dales Southside Liquor for 18 years. And he’s not happy about the probable alcohol law change. He said the law favors big box stores over the little guys.

“It’s going to cut into my sales,” Cox said. “We have a very small slice of the pie and it just got slimmer.”

He doesn’t think his liquor store will ever open on Sundays while he’s the owner.

“I’ll be at church,” he said.

Local breweries talk about how Indiana Sunday sales will affect them

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Published: March 3, 2018

BY: Shannon Hall, Journal & Courier

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — At noon on Sunday, people may storm down the doors at liquor stores and grocery stores to buy alcohol.

Sunday marks the first time since the 1930s that people can grab a pack of beer or bottle of wine or liquor from liquor or grocery stores on a Sunday in Indiana.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed the bill Wednesday that would allow Sunday sales from noon to 8 p.m.

But before Sunday, there were only a few places people in Indiana could go and grab beer to-go — breweries.

The Indiana Legislature allowed breweries to sell their beer on Sundays starting in 2010.

Dustin Grove, co-owner of Brokerage Brewery, said he’s not too worried.

Brokerage opened in mid-December and since then, they’ve had a strong following for the Sunday beer crowd, he said.

More: Everything you need to know about Indiana’s alcohol laws

“We have a lot of faith in our product,” Grove said. “We’re not too concerned.”

But no one’s certain how it will all play out, said Jim Boros, co-owner of the Crawfordsville Backstep Brewing Company.

“I think it’s going to put a dent in our Sunday growler sales,” he said.

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It’s history:  Lafayette liquor, grocery stores prepare for March 4 — first Sunday sales

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He said breweries were the only kids on the block when it came to to-go alcohol sales. In Crawfordsville, they’re the only brewery within at least 20 miles.

“It shot breweries in the arm,” he said.

Backstep Brewing Company began selling its own beer in November, so it’s only been selling growlers for the past few months.

For Backstep Brewing Company, the brewery is the only place that sells their beer, so if people want it they’ll still have to come to them, Boros said.

“And it’s a different style than what the big box stores offer,” he said. “With the (Sunday) Prohibition ending, as a consumer I’m happy. As a brewery owner, I wish we had more time.”

People’s Brewing Company has had time to be one of the few places people can take to-go beer, though.

A typical Sunday customer would come in, grab a pint, sit and chat for a bit before grabbing a growler to go, said Chris Johnson, owner of People’s Brewing Company.

“What we’ve developed is more of an experience,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll lose that crowd.”

A small percentage of People’s Sunday’s patronage came in just because they were one of the only places to get beer to go.

“We probably won’t see those people as much,” Johnson said.

But because People’s beer is sold in liquor stores and grocery stores, he think their sales will go up there.

But overall, Johnson’s not too worried about the Sunday sales affecting his brewery.

“We’ll see.”