Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers

The head of a special study commission isn’t entirely on board with a recent deal struck between grocery and liquor stores in the ongoing debate over changes to Indiana’s alcohol laws.

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.

The choice of former state Sen. Beverly Gard to lead a commission on overhauling Indiana’s alcohol code is drawing praise from at least one side of a heated debate: the gas station and convenience store lobby.

The two-year study committee is tasked with finding ways to modernize Indiana’s complex rules for the sale of beer, wine and liquor. Legislative leaders want the panel to be free of any ties to the alcohol industry.

Lawmakers To Reopen Sunday Alcohol Sales Discussion

Jan 19, 2016
Thomas Hawk / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/7209159504

There’s another new push by Indiana lawmakers to lift Indiana's ban on Sunday carryout alcohol sales.

Legislators are expected to discuss the idea next week.

The bill represents a new attempt by House Public Policy Chairman Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) to end the state's status as having the country's last statewide "blue law" prohibiting Sunday alcohol sales.

Robert Terell / https://www.flickr.com/photos/ratterrell/

Indiana convenience stores’ bid to win the right to sell cold beer took another blow Monday when a federal appeals court ruled against them.  

Only liquor stores are allowed to sell cold beer for carryout under Indiana law.  The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, or IPCA, filed suit in 2013 seeking to invalidate that law.  A federal judge last year ruled against the group.  

Lalo Martins / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lalomartins/

The author of legislation legalizing Sunday alcohol sales declared the bill dead Tuesday after he couldn’t muster enough votes to pass it out of the House.  Groups on either side of the issue are pointing fingers at each other over who’s to blame for its failure:

Wayan Vota / https://www.flickr.com/photos/dcmetroblogger/535670898

Indiana liquor stores, once the biggest opponents of legislation legalizing Sunday alcohol sales, are now backing the bill after a House committee made a major change Wednesday.

The original bill simply legalized Sunday alcohol sales.  The amended bill does that too, while creating significant new regulations for non-liquor stores that sell alcohol. 

The measure would require clerks at grocery and convenience stores to undergo the same training that liquor store employees do. 

Lawmakers in Connecticut have voted to end a ban on Sunday liquor sales.

That leaves Indiana as the only state that prohibits retail alcohol sales on Sunday.

Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers president John Livengood doesn’t expect the change in Connecticut to have any effect on the law here.

He says Connecticut only allows alcohol to be sold in liquor stores, while Indiana permits supermarkets and drugstores to sell it.