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Reality Check: The Data On Sunday Liquor Sales In Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota ended its Prohibition-era ban on Sunday liquor sales in 2017.

Despite years of controversy, the legislature voting overwhelmingly in favor of the change.

Supporters predicted more business and tax revenue. Supporters even cited studies showing Sunday sales could generate between $10.8 million to $15.1 million in new tax revenues for Minnesota.

RELATED: Reality Check: The Impact Of Sunday Liquor Sales

But that's not what happened. The Minnesota Department of Revenue says only $7.2 million in tax revenue -- about half of the predicted amount – was generated in the first year. But that amount was not even due to Sunday sales.

In fact, alcohol tax revenues go up every year, and they haven't changed much in the last five years. Sunday sales do not appear to have an impact.

Liquor Store
(credit: CBS)

The revenue department does not track alcohol sales by the day of the week, so there's no specific Sunday numbers. But it does track every single sale, including hard liquor, beer and wine.

Here's what it found in 2018, the first year of Sunday sales:

Minnesota Alcohol Taxes

  • 2014: 3.6 percent
  • 2015: 2.1 percent
  • 2016: 5.6 percent
  • 2017: 0.8 percent
  • 2018: 4.0 percent
  • There was an overall increase in alcohol taxes in 2018 of 4 percent, but that's right in line with previous years, and not as high as some.

    The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, representing the state's 900 liquor stores, opposed Sunday sales. They predicted it would spread business over seven days, and not dramatically increase revenues.

    Based on official numbers so far, that is just what happened.

    RELATED: Lawmakers Mull Liquor Sale Expansion

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