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Group pushing for carry out Sunday alcohol sales in Indiana

Published: Jul. 6, 2009 at 10:22 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2009 at 11:34 AM EDT
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By Connie Leonard - bio | email    
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - There is an effort to level the playing field when it comes to alcohol sales in Indiana. Many grocers and convenience store chains are behind the effort to allow carry out alcohol sales on Sunday, but organizers already know they are in for a fight.

Retailers like Kroger and Thornton's are supporting the effort known as "Hoosiers for Beverage Choices." Already, the group has some 25,000 signatures on a petition. They claim current laws are outdated and unfairly punish thousands of Indiana businesses.

"I think it would be a great idea," said Ed Spellman, the manager of Old Towne Grocery in Jeffersonville of a change in the law.

Equality that many Indiana grocery and convenient store managers say it's long overdue. Not only have they been shut out of Sunday alcohol sales while restaurants and bars have been allowed to sell drinks on the 7th day but, there's no equal footing Monday through Saturday in one other area. In Indiana, when it comes to the temperature of beer, the law allows package liquor stores to sell it cold, but at the grocery, it can only be sold warm.

"It hurts stores like me because we could sell more on Sundays, people like cold beer and here, you have to take it home first," Spellman said of the old practice. Many of his customers agree.

"Everybody likes a cold beer once in awhile," said Will Martin, a Jeffersonville resident.

Big name chains like Kroger that sell wine and warm beer 6 days a week in Indiana now want to sell on Sunday too. They are part of a 1,000 retailer alliance trying to change what they call Indiana's antiquated alcohol laws. They say it puts them behind in the marketplace. With 25,000 names signing the online petition, Hoosiers for Beverage Choices is asking lawmakers to consider the issue during the next session.

"Everyone else is doing it and the people really need it anyway because the stores are so far," said Martin of Sunday beer sales.

"I'm for the free enterprise system so, I don't know why you would restrict a purchase on one day," said resident Jim Keith, but not everyone is on the alcohol bandwagon.

"Why do we need alcohol on Sunday?" asked Penny Clark, a volunteer with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Clark and her sister Pat McCollum lost a brother to a drunk driver. The MADD volunteers believe opponents will come out in droves.

"I think we could get a lot of support because there's a lot of people out there and you don't think about the issue until it involves your life," McCollum said.

Clark added, "We want people to think about it and if people are strong against it they should contact their state representatives and let them know how they feel."

A summer study committee of Indiana lawmakers is reviewing the Sunday restrictions right now according to the retailers alliance. That group hopes the committee will recommend bringing it up during the next legislative session. The alliance also plans to tour the state for Hoosier feedback.

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