Connecticut Alkies in Search of a Snort

In 1979, the Connecticut Supreme Court called shenanigans on mnay of the state's remaining blue laws. But more than 30 years later, it remains illegal to sell liquor, beer, or wine on Sundays or late at night. Once again this year, drinkers and shoppers have rallied to loosen the laws. And once again, they have come up against opposition from the very businesses they long to patronize. 

The ban on Sunday sales is essentially a legally-protected day off for liquor store owners, and a guarantee against competition from grocery stores and other shops with longer hours and more convenient locations. Sure, mom and pop package stores might make a little more money if they were open 7 days a week. But then they'd have to work...7 days a week. 

Each year, lobbying efforts quash the bill to change the rules at the last minute, usually by throwing a hodgepodge of arguments about protecting the state's children, discouraging church drunks, and anything else that sticks.

But things are different this year, with the governor signaling he would sign booze liberating legislation if it passed, especially if it means a little more revenue since Connecticut, like most states is Out of Money:

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is not pushing for Sunday sales, which would yield some badly needed additional tax revenue for the state, though estimates of how much have fluctuated wildly over the years.

But unlike his predecessor, M. Jodi Rell, Malloy has announced publicly and told [blue law lobbyist Carroll] Hughes personally he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

The whole piece is full of quotable madness like this bit:

Sen. Andrew Maynard, D-Stonington, an opponent of Sunday sales in years past, is ready to vote in favor....Maynard said he no longer can accept the argument that small package stores deserve protection that is not afforded to small sporting goods stores, who compete with big-box retailers.

Reason has been keeping an eye on the dampness of Connecticut's Sundays for years. Here's a piece from 2003, and one from last year

In other booze news, the Pennsylvania House Liquor Control Committee just approved a bill that would legalize addtional hours of happiness in bars and restaurants. 

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  • SIV||

    GA looks to be eliminating the Sunday beer and wine ban this legislative session. I look forward to mocking those ignorant, backward, Bible-thumping hicks from the Nutmeg State.

  • ||

    The ban on Sunday sales is essentially a legally-protected day off for liquor store owners

    Because if the government didn't force everybody to close, some perfidious moneygrubbing bastard would sneak in to work, and steal everybody else's customers!

    And then?

    RACE TO THE BOTTOM! Oh, the shame of it all....

  • ||

    Next door in MA, we can laugh at the hicks in CT, since we've had Sunday booze sales for, what, 5 years now?

    Perhaps CT will at least be spared the tortured, incremental path taken here to Sunday sales. First, there was maybe a decade or more when liquor stores could open on Sundays between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. That was followed by several years during which booze could be sold on Sunday in towns within 10 miles of a state which allowed Sunday sales, no doubt putting an end to the traditional Sunday packy run to New Hampshire that featured so heavily in my adolescence. Within the last few years it became a wild-and-crazy free for all of Sunday booze sales. Except, you know, before noon, or late at night, or sale by the package from an establishment licensed to sell by the drink. I think the segment of the economy most adversely affected by all this liberalization is the mouthwash sector, which formerly provided hard-core alcoholics with their only legally obtainable Sunday doses.

  • Rock Action ||

    As someone on your Southern border, I can almost completely relate to your prior and present experience. I love your 12-5 Sunday sales that one package store within a thirty minute drive participates in. Makes me feel so...cosmopolitan and alive. Free for all indeed.

  • ||

    Yankee Spirits in Sturbridge, dude. The supermarket of package stores.

  • ||

    Seconded. Well worth the drive even if you can buy booze next door.

  • Rock Action ||

    I believe it, but that's gotta be over an hour drive for me. Given that, one would do just as well to have a night out in Northampton or the grittier areas of Western MA, assuming one doesn't care about potential bodily hazards that might pop up. Like gunfire.

  • ||

    Heh. A night out in Holyoke, maybe?

    Of course, I currently live in Pittsfield, so I probably shouldn't be talking smack about other "cities."

  • Rock Action ||

    Yep. Holyoke, Chicopee, Springfield. It's all good.

    As a kid, I always thought Pittsfield was different, though I hear and can sometimes see that everywhere in Western MA has fallen on rough times. At least you have that turn of the century baseball team and the outlet stores nearby.

    *shrugs?*

  • ||

    the Connecticut Supreme Court called shenanigans on mnay of the state's remaining blue laws

    There is an ypo-tay ere-thay.

  • Rock Action ||

    Perhaps she's been enlistening to Nicki Minaj and enfeeling it.

  • The **hiccup** Truth||

    Chinese liquor will be #1 by 2019. They are investing billions in alcohol R&D while American brewers sit on their fat asses.

  • The Truth||

    All the models confirm this.

  • ||

    "Dateline: Springfield. The elusive beer baron continues to thumb his nose at the authorities. Swaggering about in a garish new hat, he seemed to say, 'Look at me, Rex Banner! I have a new hat!'"

  • ||

    I'll get you, Beer Baron.

  • ||

    No, you won't!

  • ||

    Yes I will.

  • ||

    Won't.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Who gives a fuck about Connecticut or whatever. Pennsylvania sees the turmoil in Egypt and decides all the sudden to extend the amount of time the masses' drive to revolt against the Commonwealth can be dulled through drink? I smell a rat. Or maybe that's the IC Light.

  • Jeff P||

    Our liquor stores are like theme parks. You ride a rum waterslide past a staggering selection of wines. Freshmen from Weslyan are brought in to fellate you while you taste test single malts. Attendants at the exit tell you what a good and noble person you are. Nobody drinks Bud.

  • ||

    "We found this one swimming naked in the Fermentarium."

    "I AM THE LIZARD QUEEN!"

  • Restoras||

    Freshmen men or women?

  • Jeff P||

    The question is moot. This is Weslyan we're talking about.

  • Zeb||

    As a Wesleyan alum, I would say you will probably have better luck with the men. At least at the classier liquor stores in town.

  • Restoras||

    Can anyone tell me why I can't buy beer over teh freakin' internet? I'm jonesing badly for some New Belgium 1554 and have to wait another week before my trip to CO, since it isn't sold in NY for some idiotic reason.

  • ||

    Available here.

    Shipping is murderous...

  • Restoras||

    Hmmm...yes those shipping charges are brutal. Still, it is an option if desperate enough.

  • SIV||

    I could go to prison for ordering alcohol on the internet.But as long as one child is saved...

  • ||

    In Seattle, there is a magical thing called Amazon Fresh. They will deliver your groceries, including beer & wine (gots to be someone there to sign if alcohol in included). I got my first delivery last week and stocked up on Dogfish Head 90 Minute & Raison d'Etre. Yum.

    They are so rad, I would not be surprised if they expanded to other cities soon.

  • ||

    60 Minute is too unbalanced and 120 Minute is too sweet. 90 Minute is the money IPA. :-)

  • Restoras||

    The 90 is kick ass. Fantastic brew.

    Favorite winter beers?

  • ||

    I'm not really a seasonal drinker (by which I mean my beer choices don't tend to change much by season) but I'm partial to Lakefront's Holiday Spice Lager and Dark Horse's stout series. Oh, and while you have to buy it as part of a 12-pack sampler, Sam Adams' Old Fezziwig is excellent.

  • Restoras||

    Agree on Old Fezziwig, wish it came in its own six-pack. I'm partial to Ipswich Winter and Winterhook.

  • ||

    I'm not sure Ipswich distributes here in Chicago, but I'll keep my eye out.

  • ||

    It's expensive, but I don't care. I'm also liking Lagunitas' Hairy Eyeball right now.

    Also, a map to facilitate arguments about the best craft brews. I am ashamed to say I haven't tried the WA selection.

  • ||

    Lagunitas is one of my favorite breweries right now, and compared to other crafts out of California is dirt cheap. And as a bonus, they're libertarians who advertise here!

    Have you had their Brown Shugga?

  • ||

    Oh my god, the Brown Shugga made my whole gray, drizzly winter warm and fuzzy. I love. But I haven't seen it in stores for about a month.

  • ||

    Bummer... On the plus side, that means we're getting closer to A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' being released again. :-)

  • ||

    Good taste in beer: you haz it. Betcha you would like this, which was my go-to this winter if Brown Shugga was sold out. But I have no idea what their distribution is- they are super local.

  • ||

    I vaguely remember seeing that brewery when I visited friends in Seattle a couple years ago, but definitely not 'round these parts.

    On a side note, what impresses me about Lagunitas is that I love their beer despite the fact that I'm not a hophead. There are so many breweries out there that think hopping the shit out of a beer makes it good, but Lagunitas does it right.

  • ||

    Willimantic Brewing Co. won for CT? Holy shit. And to think they're in the old post office, too.

  • robc||

    You are your precious "balance".

    Learn to appreciate hops without the malt backbone like a real man.

  • ||

    Nick Floyd, is that you? ;-)

  • robc||

    Is the one of the 3 Floyds brothers?

    I was struggling with that joke.

  • robc||

    Bought the ingredients for a ryezenbock today. 8 lbs of rye scares me a little.

  • ||

    Yeah, he's the ringleader at 3 Floyds. And what percentage of your grain bill is the rye? I did a Roggenbier that was 50% rye and did a betaglucan rest at around 130F, as well as a pound of rice hulls, and didn't have too much difficulty lautering.

  • robc||

    Probably right at 50%, maybe a touch more, if you count the additional 0.5# of chocolate rye. I decided to go without rice hulls, because Im brave and stupid that way.

    8# rye
    6.5# Pils
    0.5# chocolate rye
    up to 1# something else, maybe Munich, maybe nothing.

  • robc||

    On the last, I dont see a point in a pound of Munich, so going with nothing. So 8/15ths is rye. 8.5/15ths if you count the chocolate rye.

  • ||

    I probably would have started out with 4 lb. Munich, 3.5 lb. Pils to give it the maltiness I expect from a Bock, but obviously you can see how it is and sub Munich accordingly next time if you think it needs a boost. Of course that's coming from a guy who uses Pils and Munich for probably 95% of his grains.

  • robc||

    I could still do that, I have plenty of Munich floating around, limited on pils right now. I generally buy pils by the 50# bag, just did that with Munich recently and. Anyway, I took the weizenbock recipe the last time I made it and subbed in rye for wheat. In that one, I had 1.5# of caramunich, I moved .5# to pils and that left the 1# of confusion.

    I could easily go 4/3.5 Munich/Pils or Pils/Munich. Actually, sounds like a good idea.

    I have a dopplebock in the works right now that is 13.5# Munich/3.5# Pils/0.5# Carafa I.

  • ||

    Sounds like I need to make another trip to Louisville in . . . when exactly will the Doppelbock be ready?

    By the way, the last time I was in town, I drove all the way to Cincinnati the next morning only to find a note on the plaintiff's door saying the deposition was canceled. It's a living...

  • robc||

    To be fair, the "dopplebock" is a second run at my Hop Assault recipe that you kind of cringed at. About 80 IBUs of C-hops in that sucker. Lots of Citra this time.

    Oh, and mid-March.

    I do have a Schwarzbier lagering away that is much more traditional. I even cut the roast barley in half (only 1 oz) this time. :)

    Im hoping to have the Schwarz, Hop Assault, and a hefe in time for a friend's 30th birthday in mid-March.

  • ||

    Oh my... Calling that beer a "Doppelbock" makes the baby Jesus cry. Now if you told me it was an American strong lager I bet I'd enjoy it.

  • robc||

    As I originally described it, its a traditional dopplebock that turned down the wrong alley in Portland, Oregon.

    Its neither a dopplebock or an American Strong Lager. It is Hop Assault, it needs no stylistic tag. :)

  • Restoras||

    I cry foul! Tantalizing me with your cutting edge internet sale and delivery of beer to your doorstep! A pox on your house, sir!

  • ||

    Having gone to grad school in Fort Collins, the novelty of Fat Tire quickly wore off. 1554, on the other hand, has stood the test of time. If every Fat Tire tap handle here in Chicago were replaced with 1554 I would be a happy man. (And while we're at it, let's replace all those damn 312 tap handles with Metropolitan Krankshaft.)

  • ||

    Agreed. 312 tastes like the final brew step was to throw in a dirty gym sock.

  • ||

    Deep down inside I think every libertarian has one thing they'd like to ban even though they know it goes against everything they stand for. For me, that one thing would be American wheat ales (the style, that is; not literally every ale brewed in the U.S. that contains wheat).

  • ||

    For me, it's Autotune.

  • ||

    Seconded. So very seconded. Is there anything lamer than the Black Eyed Peas at the Superbowl using autotune?

  • ||

    I think that's an unfair criticism. I mean, did you expect them to go back and re-record all their vocals WITHOUT autotune just so they could lipsync to an autotune-free vocal track at the Super Bowl instead of lipsyncing to the original track?

  • ||

    The correct answer was "ha ha, that was a trick question, the autotune has no bearing on the insufferable lameness of the Black Eyed Peas".

  • robc||

    Ditto. Wheat beers made with chico yeast are an abomination. Keep your pale yellow rice lager if you want, but the american wheats must die.

  • robc||

    Goose Island's business model befuddles me.

    First, the change the name of Hex Nut. Then they discontinue it? WTF? Maybe the finest nut brown made on this side of the pond and they discontinue it?

  • Almanian||

    "Schaefer - the one beer when you're having more than one." Or something like that. A college friend from Conn turned me on to Schaefer. It was like Strohs, but from out east.

    Thanks for making Michigan and Ohio look relatively un-stupid, Connecticut!

  • Restoras||

    Schaefer was also synonymous with the NY Mets. Portents?

  • ||

    Can anyone tell me why I can't buy beer over teh freakin' internet?

    There's an app for that. Unfortunately, you have to get new hardware (a beer tap for your JesusPhone), so its a little pricey and hasn't really taken off.

  • Feuervogel||

    While I agree that liquor stores should not be prohibited from opening on Sunday, I never follow the "it will increase tax revenue" line of thinking. That assumes there are higher taxes on Sunday, you are gaining business from other states that sell on Sunday or overall consumption will increase significantly. I don't buy it.

  • omg||

    Hey look, its Superbowl Sunday (4th of July/Sunday picnic/insert your holiday/event here)! But I totally forgot to stock up on beer, better run out and get some!

    Oh no, I can't get it in CT! Because it is Sunday and the CT government has the same attitude towards liquor as people who wore belt-buckle hats!

    I know, I'll pop across the border to goddamn Taxachusetts where I can buy what I want when I want!

  • ||

    This why, as teenagers, we always had people buy us entire kegs. Running out was much more of a remote possibility then.

  • DJC||

    That's right. Whenever I was caught beerless on a Sunday in Connecticut, a quick drive to Rhode Island solved the problem. The liquor warehouse in Watch Hill carried just about every brand of beer imaginable. The only problem was that Rhode Island's blue laws only allowed them to be open noon to six on Sundays, but it was better than nothing at all.

    Back home in Minnesota, there's now a bill before the Legislature to legalize Sunday sales, justified by the "we're losing all of our tax revenue to Wisconsin" rationale. Not surprisingly, the Licensed Beverage Association and bar owners oppose it.

  • omg||

    Same thing happened to me on the 4th of july once. It wasn't a quick fix, though, as I live right in the middle of CT. It takes about 30 minutes to get to MA one way.

  • ||

    When I lived in Stamford, a quick run to NY solved the issue, but from Storrs...not so fun.

  • Jeff P||

    From Storrs you can make MA or RI in half an hour. SO it depends on how much you care...

  • ||

    Many years ago, I was camping at Zion. 4th of July was a Sunday. I ran out of beer, only to find out I couldn't buy beer in Utah on a Sunday. A sad day.

  • Waquoit||

    Strohs is shorts spelled backwards.

  • omg||

    CTfag here. Thank god we are dragging ourselves into the 19th century. While they're at it, maybe they could legalize hard liquor sales in non-liquor stores, legalize selling of booze on holidays, and get rid of the moronic drinking age.

    Hey, a man can dream, can't he?

  • Rock Action ||

    Don't forget about our 12:15 A.M. (given that the bars always give themselves fifteen minutes grace on the clocks) last call. That's always a scratch across the record on a good time dance party.

  • Rock Action ||

    weeknights, that is

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Jesus Christ. Do they require you to have 3 forms of ID too?

  • ||

    Being able to buy beer on the 4th of July?!? What are you, a communist?!?

  • omg||

    You ever see a communist drink water?

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    You know who was a teetotaller...

  • WTF||

    Carrie Nation?

  • omg||

    I'm wondering how Carrie Nation never got shot. If I owned a bar and someone barged in with an axe and started swinging it around they would end up full of holes.

  • Destrudo||

    Sometimes you just need a bottle night train at 7AM on a Sunday.

  • Jennifer||

    What's especially ludicrous is that Connecticut is a tiny state; you're rarely more than an hour's drive from the nearest state line, and usually much closer than that. So in my school days, when the liquor stores closed at 8 pm, I'd buy booze just over the state line in Massachusetts or Rhode Island. The law did nothing to curb my in-state alcohol consumption; it just added an extra half-hour to the errand and ensured my money enriched the coffers in some other state.

    Dear God, how I want to GTFO of here. Connecticut sucks the red hairy sulfurous balls of Satan.

  • ||

    I recall a few desperate trips to Wyoming back when I was in grad school at Colorado State. It was only 45 minutes from Fort Collins to Cheyenne, but saying you're going to Wyoming always SOUNDS really far away.

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    Joe Lieberman is hairy? Who knew?

  • ||

    The poor fucker that waxes Joe's hideous genitalia ever Tuesday after noon. It looks like a plate of scrambled eggs and drywall screws.

  • ||

    And I'm sure all these beer runs to neighboring states never involved sampling the wares en route, either.

    See, if you don't want people driving drunk, maybe you shouldn't make them drive to get their drinks.

  • Rock Action ||

    No, man, it's pretty clear that Saturday only sales cut down on drunk driving. See, people plan their purchases perfectly. Nobody ever runs out on Sunday during football and thinks that he can drive to RI, MA, or NY and be back for Football Night in America. Nor, as you pointed out, do they drink en route. No, Saturday sales clearly encourage alcoholics and binge drinkers alike to plan wisely and competently, and then stay at home should they run out.

  • Jennifer||

    Also, pretty much every state I've ever been in -- Connecticut included -- lets the bars stay open later than the liquor stores, which means there's always times where "It is not legal for me to buy alcohol right now and drive home before I drink it; I can only legally buy alcohol if I agree to drink it before I go home."

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    I hate to say it, but you guys have managed to make NY sound reasonable. When I first got here for grad school I thought the 1 AM last call was Puritan.

  • Joseph J. Alexander||

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