First Wet Christmas Since Prohibition

Ten other states still ban or restrict alcohol sales and Christmas; 12 ban liquor sales on Sundays.


Kahn's Fine Wines & Spirits

Today is the first Christmas since Prohibition when it has been legal to sell alcoholic beverages in Indiana. That means restaurant patrons can order wine with their Christmas dinners, hosts whose bars run low can replenish them, and guests headed to the homes of friends or relatives can pick up a bottle or two on the way. But those privileges, which most Americans take for granted, will be snatched away next year, when Christmas falls on a Sunday. Indiana is one of a dozen states that ban liquor sales on the Christian sabbath, although it is the only state that also bans beer and wine sales. In addition to the statewide bans, some states have widespread local restrictions on Sunday alcohol sales.

Indiana's ban on Christmas sales was lifted thanks to a 2015 bill backed by Republicans. One of them, Rep. Jerry Torr, told The New York Times Indiana's confusing and outdated liquor laws desperately need revision. "It's a complete mess," he said. "All the statutes having to do with alcohol—somebody just needs to start over and rewrite them. It's a hodgepodge of things that have evolved over the years."

The Times notes a law that requires grocery and convenience stores to sell beer warm, which it calls "a sort of mandatory waiting period for impulse drinkers." Liquor stores, whose hours are restricted, are allowed to sell cold beer. Judging from Wikipedia's rundown of liquor laws, Indiana is the only state with that rule. But it was not unique in banning alcohol sales on Christmas. Ten other states—Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota—still do. Some of those laws are less sweeping than Indiana's was, applying only to off-premise sales or sales by liquor stores.

You may wonder how such religiously motivated restrictions on alcohol sales can be reconciled with the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. According to the Supreme Court, laws prohibiting businesses from operating on Sundays are constitutional as long as you can come up with an ex post facto secular justification for them, such as the desire to prevent people from working too much. (No, really.) In the case of alcohol, public safety concerns, such as fear of a surge in drunk driving accidents on days when people don't have to work yet are free to buy alcoholic beverages, can be used as a fig leaf for religious motives. Since 2002, 16 states and the District of Columbia nevertheless have decided to allow Sunday liquor sales.

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  1. Alcohol is bad, m’kay. Virginia has a monopoly on liquor sales. Beyond that I haven’t encountered any problems. I haven’t read through all the laws so it is possible I have committed a few felonies over the years.

    1. When I was in Virginia, I was able to get around use of the state-run liquor store by shopping at the federal government-run liquor store. Meanwhile, over in DC, they had real liquor stores. Makes no sense. I’m going to go spend the rent money on lottery scratch offs now.

  2. It would seem that a legislature could reasonably find that the Sunday sale of the exempted commodities was necessary either for the health of the populace or for the enhancement of the recreational atmosphere of the day – that a family which takes a Sunday ride into the country will need gasoline for the automobile and may find pleasant a soft drink or fresh fruit; that those who go to the beach may wish ice cream or some other item normally sold there; that some people will prefer alcoholic beverages or games of chance to add to their relaxation; that newspapers and drug products should always be available to the public.

    The record is barren of any indication that this apparently reasonable basis does not exist, that the statutory distinctions are invidious, that local tradition and custom might not rationally call for this legislative treatment. See Salsburg v. Maryland, 346 U.S. 545, 552 -553; Kotch [366 U.S. 420, 427] v. Board of River Port Pilot Comm’rs, supra. Likewise, the fact that these exemptions exist and deny some vendors and operators the day of rest and recreation contemplated by the legislature does not render the statutes violative of equal protection since there would appear to be many valid reasons for these exemptions, as stated above, and no evidence to dispel them.


    1. “” there would appear to be many valid reasons for these exemptions””


  3. So,making sure that people that own and work at a place that sells booze it’s ok to make sure people don’t work too much, (make a living,property rights and all that jazz). Why are economic rights not given the same protection as speech and so forth? Not everyone gets paid holidays,and if you own a store or carry out you only make money when open and selling to a willing buyer.How hard is this to understand? The SC has been destroying the constitution ,and wicker v filburn really got the ball rolling.

    1. Why are economic rights not given the same protection as speech and so forth?

      Economic rights? You mean the rights of businesses to exploit workers while ripping off their customers? Those rights?

      1. Well,maybe. ‘It is not from the benevolence of the butcher,baker and brewer we get our daily sustenance ,but,through their own self interest. ‘ A quote the ages by Adam Smith. I do know your being sarasmic though.

        1. Listening to Dem Pols talk you wouldn’t know that.

    2. “Why are economic rights not given the same protection as speech and so forth?”

      bcuz KKKorporayshuns arnt PEEPULZ!!!


      Seriously, this seems to be the justification for government control over anything legally classified as a corporation. One person has rights, but apparently, two people in a partnership do not have rights.

  4. KAHHHHHH…..


  5. “It’s a complete mess,” he said. “All the statutes having to do with alcohol?somebody just needs to start over and rewritepeal them.

    I think I’ll fix myself a drink.

    1. I’m not surprised somebody beat me to this.

      1. Opening the liquor cabinet is just as fun as opening presents. Not to worry though, there’s plenty of depth to that well!

        1. I spiked a glass of nog with vodka last night, and gave my father a bottle of Austrian Gr?ner Veltliner for Christmas.

  6. “Ten other states still ban or restrict alcohol sales and Christmas’


  7. Very surprised Utah isn’t on the restricted list. I’ll go ahead and guess the state liquor stores aren’t open, but I assume this means you can buy their watered down beer in the grocery store?

  8. “According to the Supreme Court, laws prohibiting businesses from operating on Sundays are constitutional as long as you can come up with an ex post facto secular justification for them, such as the desire to prevent people from working too much”

    Who can gripe about a bit of sophistry among friends.

  9. If a constitutional amendment was needed for Prohibition, why would restrictions on alcohol sales at any time, or prohibition of any drug for that matter, be constitutional even in the absence of religious implications?

    1. 21st Amendment, if you wanted an actual answer.

  10. I’m a bit late to the discussion, but as a Hoosier I welcome any positive development. I will add that the grocery stores cannot sell alcohol before 7 in the morning, so you may as well go to a liquor store where it’s cold. It’s not so much a waiting period for impulse drinkers as it is a sop to liquor stores. There have been a couple bills in recent years to legalize Sunday sales that got torpedoed by language too favorable to liquor stores (as opposed to big box/grocery stores). If there was a simple bill to legalize Sunday sales it would probably pass.

    1. And what’s crazy is that the law in Oklahoma is completely backwards from that: Liquor stores can only sell warm beer, but it can be real beer. Convenience and grocery stores can sell cold beer, but only 3.2.
      Some states require bars to provide food, others prohibit it. It’s all a strange study in theocracy and local cultural norms.

      1. Just to your north in Kansas it’s very similar (although it is done on a county by county basis here).
        In Johnson County (Overland Park, Olathe etc), grocery stores only sell 3.2 beer, but it’s usually cold. Liquor stores sell everything else (beer is also cold though). However liquor stores can’t sell anything but alcoholic beverages. I couldn’t even buy a corkscrew last year when I bought a bottle of champagne (excuse me “sparkling wibe”) at the liquor store. At least they aren’t state owned. And bars either have to be membership only (a stupid dodge) or a percentage of revenue has to be from food, so “bar and grill” or microbrewery restaurants are ok. But you don’t see the neighborhood, corner bars.
        Of course, literally 20 min east across state line is Missouri. And there are practically none of these restrictions there.

  11. And that my friend is why we jsut roll with it.

  12. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  13. I’m just glad that the Supreme Court has allowed the resumption of Blue Bell Ice Cream sales.

  14. The reason Minnesota still restricts Sunday sales is because liquor store owners don’t want to begin repealing blue laws. It the state were to begin repealing blue laws, such as Sunday sales bans, the fear from store owners is that the state will allow sales at grocery stores. If that happens, most liquor stores here will be SOL. Not saying they shouldn’t repeal those laws, but it’s not as simple as christian conservatives holding sway over booze sales.

    1. I think you are right. In fact, I would go so far as to say that most of these “blue laws” where definitely started due to a Christian sensibility. But these are almost all perpetuated by businesses who have an interest in keeping things this way. Businesses in general are “conservative” only in the sense of keeping things the way when they are in a favorable position. As soon as some businesses see a change as way of getting into a better position, then “progressive” policies are the way to go.
      Mind you, I don’t blame them in the sense of evil corporations like these progtards. Rather, as with most folks here, it’s the pols who create the situation by writing laws with winners and losers in mind. Instead of little regulation beyond basic sort of “rules of the road” that accomplish the basics of an even playing field with as little meddling as possible.

    2. The American Liberal Party, which was an anti-socialist precursor to the LP in 1931 advocated repeal of all blue laws, separation of church and government and repeal of the Volstead act and of the Prohibition Amendment.

  15. The same people who fully support blue laws have an apoplectic fit at the mere mention of sharia (Islamic law). I’d imagine that if it were called Christian law they would support it wholeheartedly.

  16. Indiana has a corn sugar plant at Hammond, just south of Chicago. During prohibition dead bodies turned up there and the town went bankrupt when Herbert Hoover set the feds on the yeast and corn sugar industries. Indiana politicians and mobsters made a lot of money forcing people to distill from corn sugar or go without. There are streets named Corn Products and there is an entire town named Fleischmann.

  17. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  18. I can’t even imagine the outcry if legal pot states tried something like this.

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