ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Supporters of Sunday liquor store sales can put a cork in it for now.

The Minnesota Senate Thursday killed an effort to repeal a decades-long ban on Sunday sales at liquor stores. Currently, Minnesota liquor stores are open Monday through Saturday, but not Sunday.

During debate to repeal the ban on Thursday, some lawmakers were unsympathetic.

“It’s a pretty easy solution for people who think they need to have liquor on Sunday,” Sen. David Tomassoni, (DFL) Chisolm, said. “If you really, really need liquor on Sunday, just go to a bar and drink it there.”

Supporters of repealing the ban said Minnesota is decades behind the times. One lawmaker noted the Sunday ban was enacted when John Dillinger was America’s Public Enemy No. 1.

Others said business, and not government, should decide what days to open — and close.

“The place where I get my haircut is closed on Mondays because they have found that the busiest days of the week for their customers are Saturday and Sunday,” Sen. Susan Kent, (DFL) Woodbury, said. “If liquor stores are concerned about being open seven days and they only want to be open only on six, they might want to have the option of deciding for themselves.”

But for many rural legislators, it’s personal. In small towns, they said local mom and pop liquor stores are getting crowded out and undercut by big-box retailers.

“We have other liquor stores that have come in that are corporate and franchised and get volume discounts and get a lower price for their product,” Sen. Vicki Jensen, (DFL) Owatonna, said. “That my local family owned businesses have to fight and compete with, so that margin is low already.”

The Senate bill does allow the Sunday sales of beer growlers at craft breweries. And it allows restaurants to serve Sunday alcohol at 8 a.m. instead of 10 a.m.

Pat Kessler

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