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Indiana Group Petitions To Buy Beer On Sundays

This story was written by Elvia Malagon, Indiana Daily Student

For 35 years, Indiana residents have not been able to purchase alcoholic beverages from stores on Sundays, but a new campaign hopes to change that.

The movement Hoosiers for Beverage Choices is trying to change a law that prohibits Hoosier retailers from selling alcohol on Sundays. Through a Web site that launched in August, people can sign a growing online petition, said Indiana Retail Council President Grant Monahan. The campaign also wants to allow the sale of cold beer at drug, grocery and convenience stores.

But not everybody is happy with the movement. Many Hoosiers believe the more often alcohol is available for purchase, the more often it will be abused.

Retailers cannot sell alcoholic beverages from 3 a.m. on Sunday until 7 a.m. on Monday. The exception to this rule is that alcohol can be served at most licensed restaurants from 10 a.m. on Sundays to 12:30 a.m. on Mondays.

The Indiana Retail Council is one organization involved in the movement that hopes to eventually change the law, Monahan said. The council represents and provides all sizes and types of retail stores with government affairs representation in Indiana.

We are providing in-store materials that will educate our customers as well, Monahan said.

Currently, the only types of retail stores allowed to sell cold beer are liquor stores, Monahan said. He said this allows liquor stores to create a monopoly on the price of cold beer.

Monahan said he thinks Indiana is losing millions of dollars in revenue by not allowing any kind of stores to sell liquor and beer on Sundays.

Shona Flynn-Duncan, public relations manager for the Bloomington-based Sahara Mart, agrees.

There are people that specifically come in for alcohol, he said. That doesnt mean that they dont come other times for food, but they are looking for something specific.

Flynn-Duncan said the sales of all products would increase because when people go into the store to buy one thing, they also purchase other goods while they are there.

The sale of alcohol on Sundays would also help the store profit at its new location on Third Street, which will open this fall, because it has a larger beer and wine section, Flynn-Duncan said.

Representatives from the Indiana Area Office of The United Methodist Church dont agree with changing the law.

Church spokesman Dan Gangler said in an e-mail the church is not against the Hoosiers for Beverage Choices group.But he said the church believes that the government should control the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Whether or not such beverages are sold on Sunday or any other day of the week is secondary to the control of an addictive substance that is misused and can create great harm to people and their families, Gangler said. Alcoholism continues to be a problem in our society, and those who market alcoholic beverages need to be upfront about their intentions, not calling an industrial advertising campaign a grassroots citizens movement.

The United Methodist Church is not alone in its opposition to the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

Wade Shanower, president of Big Red Liquors, said the availability of alcohol will only lead to an increase of the misuse of alcohol.

Shanower said being able to sell alcohol on Sunday will not increase the profits of the stores. He based this on research that was done throughout states that do allow alcohol to be sold on Sundays.

In response to the sale of cold beer, Shanower said 6,000 restaurants and taverns can sell cold beer.

In addition, Shanower said cold beer is the preferred alcoholic beveragechoice for underage drinkers. He said liquor stores are the only regulated stores because you have to be 21 years or old to get into the store.

Despite the moral concerns and economic conflicts of the situation, Hoosiers for Beverage Choices Web site says it has more than 10,000 signatures supporting the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

The petition is just the beginning for the group. In January, the Web site plans to have a link to let visitors e-mail their representative in the Indiana General Assembly, Monahan said.

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