As a longtime Minneapolis liquor-store owner, I have seen firsthand the demand for Sunday alcohol sales increasing. Times have changed, and so must Minnesota. The time has come for the state to allow liquor stores to be open on Sundays.
Colorado recently became the latest in a nationwide trend of states ousting their Blue Laws banning Sunday sales. Minnesota, like Colorado, was host to thousands of visitors from all over the country during the political convention season. The vast majority of states allow Sunday sales -- including our neighbors Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota -- so it's safe to say that most of these visitors came from such states. Imagine what they thought at finding our doors closed on Sundays because of a 1930s-era Blue Law.
Beyond the political convention, my customers are looking for service every other Sunday of the year. According to them, the reason is clear: Blue Laws no longer make sense in today's society. Actually, Sunday sales already exist in restaurants, bars, convenience stores, the Metrodome, Target Center, the Xcel and the Guthrie. Only liquor stores are forbidden to be open for business. It makes no sense for the state of Minnesota to tell its citizens that they can have alcohol on Sundays but that they have to consume it before driving home.
These days, Sunday is the second-busiest shopping day of the week. Most families in Minnesota are composed of dual-income workers who want the flexibility to shop on Sundays. Despite changing consumer trends, liquor stores' lights are off and the doors are locked, even though consumers are out shopping for every other type of good and service.
Blue Laws are archaic, a remnant of years past. They're interesting and fun to talk about -- but not very practical when you want to run out for a bottle of wine, beer or liquor to enjoy while watching the Vikings play, and darn ... it happens to be Sunday.
Seventy-five years after the national repeal of Prohibition, Minnesota liquor stores shut out customers, tourists and weekend shoppers who are unaware that such Blue Laws still exist. Sunday alcohol sales would not only provide a solution to consumer demand, but also would stuff the coffers of state and local governments with badly needed tax revenue.
Rolling back the ban will be a positive step for the state. Let's join the 35 other states that have already repealed their Prohibition-era bans and help push Minnesota further into the 21st century.
John Wolf is president of Chicago Lake Liquors in Minneapolis.