States OK Sunday Spirits Sales to Increase Tax Revenue, Consumer Convenience

Published November 1, 2004

Ohio and Kentucky recently joined the growing list of states that have rolled back Sunday spirits sales prohibitions in order to increase consumer convenience and generate additional tax revenue.

In the past two-and-a-half years, 11 states have made Sunday sales of alcohol legal, according to the Distilled Spirits Council, the national trade association that has lobbied in support of such changes.

Within the past year, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Virginia have begun allowing retailers to sell spirits products on Sunday, bringing to 32 the total number of states allowing such sales.

Ohio became the most recent to make the change, when liquor stores began selling spirits on Sunday, September 19–a move that proved very popular with Buckeye State retailers and customers.

“This is good news for our customers and our business,” said Marc Zkiab, who co-owns Simones Beverage & Deli in Lakewood, Ohio.

Alcohol Sales Raise Tax Revenue

Peter Cressy, president of the Distilled Spirits Council, said more states are taking a closer look at Sunday spirits sales as a way to raise revenue without having to raise taxes on consumers and the hospitality industry.

“Allowing seven-day liquor sales brings convenience to consumers, boosts for local businesses, and additional tax revenue for the state,” said Cressy. “With Sunday now the second-busiest shopping day of the week, states and localities are realizing these outdated Blue Laws no longer have a place in our modern society.”

An analysis of states that have implemented Sunday sales shows the move has been a success for retailers and state budgets. Growth in liquor sales in states that have recently started selling spirits on Sundays are far exceeding the industry average.

New York Law Highly Successful

Last year, New York lawmakers passed a “six-day sales” law that allowed package stores to open on Sundays if they chose a different day of the week to close. The move was so popular with consumers and retailers who chose to open on Sundays that the state passed follow-up legislation this year permitting package stores to open seven days a week.

“Stores opening on Sunday have been very successful in boosting their sales over the past year,” said Steve Glamuzina, president of the Empire State Package Store Association in New York. “Now that they can open every day of the week, their businesses will thrive even more.”

Randall Ford ([email protected]) is communications manager of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.