Sunday Liquor Sales Debated In Minn.

By James Schugel, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Most of us have been there. It’s Sunday, and you want a beer, but you’re out.

Any other day you could just make a beer run, but not on Sunday, not in Minnesota.

Every year $10.6 million drains out of Minnesotans pockets and into Wisconsin tax revenues, all of it from Sunday beer sales.

So why doesn’t Minnesota just sell beer on Sundays? There are a lot of reasons. For one, some liquor store owners just don’t want it.

“On Sundays, I attend church at times. I like to spend time with my family,” said Vernon Crowe who owns Selby Wines and Spirits in St. Paul.

He’s not in love, as he explains it, with a new proposal from Minnesota State Sen. Roger Reinert (DFL), who represents Duluth. He has brought up a bill that would allow Sunday liquor sales. It would also allow Thanksgiving Day sales.

“You know, Wisconsin got a win with the Packers in the Super Bowl,” he said. “I’m not sure we need to give them another win by sending all of our Minnesota tax dollars over there as well on Super Bowl Sunday.”

That $10.6 million number translates into about $200,000 tax dollars every Sunday.

“I would love to stop losing revenue, losing company,” said Crowe, who said he would support the idea if it would help Minnesota stores near the Wisconsin border.

But on the other side of the St. Croix River, Jana Gaffer hopes the proposal never passes.

“We do wonderful on Sundays. It’s a good day! A very good day for us,” she said, laughing, from her store Historic Casanova Liquor. “The people who purchase on Sundays are from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul area and a lot are from outlying areas.”

This border battle will continue between these store owners, until the bill passes or it’s shot down at the Capitol in St. Paul.

  • worker

    Why not give Mn liquor stores the option to on Sundays just like they are giving the option to be open until 10:00 during the week

    • mick

      That’s what I was thinking. They don’t have to open if they don’t want to.


      Absolutely! I am from ND and they have late hours! SO many times, I miss hitting the liquor store by a few minutes and no booze…I forget many times it closes at 8pm at some suburbs.

  • JamieinMN

    All for it! Why not put that money in MINNESOTANS pockets?!?!!?!?!

    • JamieinMN

      And if YOU want to go to church on Sundays, hire someone to run the store while you’re gone. Simple solution.

  • Bob

    It’s time MN enter the 21st Century. These ‘blue’ laws what you find in the bible belt.

    • mike

      Even bible belt states allow Sunday liquor sales. MN needs to wake up and join the 21st century or vote law makers out of office who oppose changing outdated blue laws,

  • Liquor Store employee

    They should have been open on Sundays along time ago! Business are hurting and people need jobs and money,why not give it to residents of MN

  • Burgy

    There really is no downside to giving liquor stores the option to be open on Sundays. That tax revenue could really help over the long term. Why would we ever voluntarily give our tax revenues to our neighbor state?

  • JD

    Government should never dictate when a store owner should be open for business. If a store owner wishes to be open on Sundays then he or she should have the right to do so. It’s called freedom. Car dealerships, if they want, should also be allowed to be open on Sundays. I also think if our state were to give business owners some incentives to stay open 24/7 it might help generate more jobs and bring in even more revenue for Minnesota.

  • Tim from Faribault

    It is just as simple as this…what if a church runs out of wine for communion or eucharist. Last year my church’s 11:00 easter morning service had 375+ people. What would have happened had they run out. Hopefully they didn’t hear me say that.

  • Karl

    Let them open if they want. This is just more foolish government intervention.

  • RC

    And why we are at it, let the car dealerships be open on Sundays too! There is an other area that we lose tax dollars.

    • RWB

      Actually you pay sales tax where you live! If someone from Wis bus a car here the tax is paid there at Wis rate. If I live in Minnesota and buy a car in Wis I pay Minnesota sales tax.

      As for opening car dealerships on Sundays! I get the logic people are off on Sun. After being in the automotive business for 15 plus years it was nice to have a “forced” day off! If not we would end up working seven days a week. Since leaving car sales I can tell you that I love having the weekends off now and can’t imagine spending one of those days at a car dealership! If I buy a car it will be during the week!

      As for the liquor stores being open on Sundays, I don’t drink so it doesn’t matter to me! If people “need” more alcohol here is a novel idea buy it on Sat! If what you bought on Sat isn’t enough, you probably shouldn’t be driving to get more on Sun! This case of 24 that I bought on Sat didn’t get me through the game so I will hop in my car and drive to my local liquor store! There’s a bright idea!

      • Nate

        Since you stated you don’t drink at all, you’ve pretty much lost all validity in the matter. Situations come up where you’re out of beer for the football game and it sucks.

        The “forced day off” for car dealerships is just as backwards as the liquor stores not being open on Sunday. If Sunday is the best day for selling cars, then work it. If you don’t want to, then don’t. Lose the commission. Any other industry has their retail locations open. Why should car dealerships be any different? It’s been around for so long that it’s just been burned into people’s brains. “Open on a Sunday?! That’s unthinkable!

  • Tom Dearing

    It’s a great idea! It gives the liquor store the option too open up. Keep the money in MN, and it is something that should have been done along time ago. And no doubt socal conservative will have fit but that is their problem.

  • ECB

    And while the MN Legislature fixes this outdated law can you please let me buy a car on a Sunday? My God says it is ok to buy a car on Sunday.

  • E Norton

    A Sunday ban on anything should be considered highly unconstitutional. Its obvious that banning things on Sunday is tied directly to Sunday being the designated day of worship for Christians. This is a direct violation of the separation of church and state. A law like this definitely has the government promoting the interests of Christianity of the interests of other religions.

    • tm

      “This is a direct violation of the separation of church and state.” A common misconception, there is no law separating Church and State, nor is there anything in the constitution separating Church and state. Typical atheist.

      • Sam

        The Supreme Court and the First Amendment both disagree with you there, tm. Congress shall not establish a state church. Enforcing certain religious ideals is crafting a state church.
        By the way, don’t presume that someone is atheist just because they disagree with you.
        I happen to be Christian. I just have learned to incorporate both the ideals of the country _and_ the ideals of Christianity while keeping them distinct.

    • Mattmosc

      The Christians are have wine at church on Sundays!

  • E Norton

    Sorry that should have been:
    “A law like this definitely has the government promoting the interests of Christianity over the interests of other religions.”

    • Unreal

      You are more than wrong. You are mental in this thought process. The constitution does not say separation of church and state. If it does read it for us please. You are one of the reasons why this country is failing. Liberalism is a disease which destroys countries.

      • taking it down a notch

        First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” Taking actions that “reserve” any day in deference to religion could qualify as establishment.

        This line of thinking is actually as much more libertarian as it is fringe liberal…

  • Tweets that mention Sunday Liquor Sales Debated In Minn. « CBS Minnesota --

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Minnesota Wild, Nathan Higgins. Nathan Higgins said: MN lawmaker seeks to repeal lousy,wrongheaded,barbaric,&arbitrary law prohibiting Sunday liquor sales […]

  • Mattmosc

    Here is an idea, repeal the law, and let the liquor stores decide if they want to be open for the day.

  • Todd

    As far as the guy who doesn’t want to open on Sunday he doesn’t have to. I will go to the other store down the street. Beer (strong beer) and wine should be sold in grocery stores like 99% of the other states anyways, but if they overturn the Sunday (i.e. sin law) law it’s a start.

  • bobby lee

    To make it short and simple….these politicians are out dated…there old, conservative, and a bunch of idiots..why send your tax revenue somewhere else. doesn’t make sense, when mn needs it so much. We’re cutting school budget, jobs and medical care and what do they do, send our god damn money to wisconsin. yeah!!!!!…..until a younger generation of politicians gets on board. we’ll never see these law changes. these are old fart, that has not change with time. It’s a culture of doing what they want, because they can, and they don’t want change, just because they are bitter and grumpy old man!!!…


      hey! our state is jus’ as broke as yer state! We need all yer money we can get,so we have more beer to watch our team in the next few super-bowls! AHAHAHAHA!!!

  • jh

    Yes, please can we keep religion out of our business policies? You also shouldn’t tie or untie a knot on Sundays; which, according to the lovely Bible, would result in a stoning. Feel the love!!!

    • insignificant

      well thats a load o’ B.S….the Sabbath isn’t Sunday.Sunday is ancient Babylonian sun worship…ya gotta quite gettin’ educated by christian dolt ministers who don’t have a clue what their own holy books have in there.Sunday was established as lords day by constantine,the semi-mithraic christian of the 4th century…then the Roman catholics adopted this ancient sun-worship day…Lord/Ba’al/Master/Mr….you minnesotans must have alot o flourides in yer water numbing yer brains,eh?..Come on o ver and bye yer booze

  • hoover

    It’s not just the government; some of the owners don’t WANT to be open on Sundays – it’s their one day off. As for the comment to “hire someone if you want to go to church”; in this economy it’s not necessarily feasible for the owners to hire. People should be able to plan ahead – they’ve always known that liquor stores are closed on Sundays, so buy it on Saturday – stock up, it’s not like it’s gonna go to waste!

  • Kyle

    To Unreal, I can’t tell if you are joking or not with your comments so I will take them at face value. E Norton is absolutely right. Laws that ban things on Sunday’s are based upon Christian ideals. We all have freedom of religion in this country. My religion is different than yours, but I still should have to observe your sabbath? Don’t think so. Take a look in the mirror and decide if maybe you and your tea-bagger buddies are a part of the problem.

  • WT?

    If the owners don’t want to open on Sundays, they wouldn’t have to be. The point is, it should be THEIR decision. Same with the car dealerships. A lot of old laws are based on religious issues, Sunday being a day of rest, etc. Right or wrong, that’s the way it was. Times have changed. You cannot legislate morality, even if you wanted to try. And if people want to strictly adhere to the bible, there wouldn’t be a Super Bowl because the Old Testament says that no one shall touch the skin of a pig on Sundays. Put away that Pigskin, Aaron. Rodgers! (Yes, I know they are no longer made of real pigskin, but I hope you get the point…)

  • Another Bob

    Moved here from Nevada. You can buy alcohol 24 hours a day. They sell in grocery stores and no liqour store went out of business.

    You can even buy a car or get it worked on on Sunday.

    If a store doesn’t want the extra time to do business, why are they in business?

    Also, keep your religion out of my life.

  • LTM

    Why is it you can buy cigarettes on Sunday, (or even Christmas for that matter), but not beer? This silly blue law dates back to Prohibition and it’s high time we get over the stupid notion that alcohol is “evil”, (aren’t cigarettes more “evil” than beer anyway?). If a package store owner doesn’t want to open on Sunday’s, fine, that’s their choice. But the Gov’ment shouldn’t decide when I choose to buy my beer. It’s a great feeling to go over to Wis. and buy beer on Sunday and thumb my nose at pious, righteous, holier-than-thou Minnesota!

  • Mary Hufnagle

    they’d solve this whole problem by letting grocery stores sell liquor like alot of other states!!!!!

  • antileaveAmsg

    Personally I don’t mind the scony runs on Sundays.. But would be GREAT if I could just go down the street.. get rid of this ridiculous law..

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