Indiana Allows Sunday Alcohol Sales, Keeps Cold Beer Laws on Books

Prohibition isn't totally defeated yet.


Birgit Korber |

Indiana has repealed its ban on Sunday carry-out alcohol sales, allowing people to buy beer, wine, and liquor on the Lord's Day for the first time since 1816. From now on, Indiana residents won't be forced to shuttle across the Ohio border when they need to pick up some last-minute booze for a party, nor will anyone be reminded mid-checkout that she must forgo that bottle of Merlot until Monday.

While 10 states still prohibit the sale of liquor on Sundays, Indiana had been the only one with a statewide ban on all alcoholic beverages.

"We couldn't unlock the doors until noon," Joel Massoth, owner of Decatur Package Liquors, told WANE on Sunday. "I got here at about ten 'til, and the whole parking lot was packed. Everyone was waiting at the door wanting to be the first one to walk in. Kind of a day in history. It's pretty cool seeing all the customers excited."

But Hoosier State drinkers have many battles left to fight. For instance, Indiana remains the only state to regulate beer based on temperature. Yes, temperature: Gas stations and convenience stores aren't allowed to sell carry-out alcohol that is "iced or cooled." If you want to take some beer home that's already been chilled, you need to get it at a restaurant or a liquor store.

In 2017, the state Senate voted against the repeal of cold beer laws. Public support for repeal was high—around 61 percent, according to a Ball State study—but the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers lobbied successfully to retain the restrictions. Worse yet, the legislature made the laws more restrictive: A convenience-store chain had added seating and fast-food service to a few of its stores, so they could obtain restaurant status and sell carry-out beer, so Indiana mandated that 60 percent of all alcohol sales must be for on-site consumption if you want that restaurant classification. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb called that "common sense."

Yet the fight is far from settled. Shortly after he signed the bill, Gov. Holcomb was asked whether Hoosiers could expect a change in cold beer laws.

"We will cross that bridge when we come to it," the governor said.

NEXT: At Gov. Butch Otter's Request, Idaho Senator Goes to Crazy Lengths to Kill CBD Oil Bill

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I wonder how much of a deterrence to alcoholism and misbehavior these absurd little obstacles actually are. I can’t buy liqor on Sundays, and I’m not sure that’s changing this year even as other stupid regs are finally being lifted. But I can be desperate and get 3-point beer (soon to be a thing of the past) and attempt to get a buzz, or I could go to a restaurant and get as shitfaced as you like. The point is, apparently Jesus is watching only in very specific instances.

    1. What state do you live in?

      1. Oklahoma. New laws go into effect in October.

        1. Have you ever considered moving? You can’t get more red than Oklahoma.

          1. Actually I prefer to visit liberal enclaves rather than live in them. Liberals are insufferable in large numbers.

            1. How do you manage to live with yourself?

              1. There’s just the one of him.

    2. I wonder how much of a deterrence to alcoholism and misbehavior these absurd little obstacles actually are.

      Having grown up under these laws the notion that ‘Prohibition isn’t dead yet.’ is laughable. Not that I like the laws or think they should be enforced, but they were established well before nation-wide prohibition and starts to get into the ‘bad actors on all sides’ sort of issue.

      I know Marijuana legalization advocates would be ecstatic if you could buy pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes out of any local gas station but had to go to a proper head shop or dispensary 6 days a week to get loose baggies of weed.

    3. The real reason behind these blue laws (at least in Indiana) had very little to do with religion, and a lot more to do with liquor stores trying to hold on to their monopolies. It’s cronyism at it’s finest. Liquor stores don’t want to be open on Sundays because in significantly increases their operating costs. If other stores can’t sell beer on Sundays anyway, then they don’t lose out on sales (or so the story goes).

      The cold beer laws are due to the exact same issue.

      1. Liquor stores were that influential in 1816? I guess they could’ve been, considering it was a frontier state that might’ve had 1 liquor store.

  2. I remember being in Kansas City once, when Kansas had no Sunday alcohol but Missouri did. State Line Road was totally empty on one side and crowded as hell on the other side. Truly a weird spectacle.

    1. Same issue in Harrison, OH/IN. The state line goes down the middle of Main Street. Bars close earlier on one side, mass exodus to the other side.

      1. State Street, not Main Street.

  3. So glad I moved out of that holy roller hell hole.

  4. “Hold my beer and pray this.”


    “Hey, those Novus Ordo hymns sound great!”

    “Drunk on Sunday morning? For shame!”

    1. Church is just better when you’re drunk.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.