The minutes of the Interim Study on Alcoholic Beverage Issues' September 15th public meeting are up. and there were some interesting points made.
- The Excise Police pointed out current problems with election day prohibition.
- Sen. Phil Boots said he will introduce the legislation next year and supported Sunday sales and Cold grocery/drug store sales. (He owns convenience stores "that do not sell alcoholic beverages").
- The committee discussed stores using alcohol as loss leaders and the possible need for minimum price controls.
- The committee wondered if liquor stores should be allowed to sell "more non-alcoholic beverage products". (Maybe cold sodas and mixers).
Then the Pros testified
- David Hanson, Prof. Em. Sociology, SUNY said Sunday sales won't increase DUI accidents.
- Matt Norris of Hoosiers for Beverage Choices said the "Indiana Petroleum Council, Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, and the Indiana Retail Council financially support the coalition." They've achieved 65,000 signatures on their petition.
- John Elliott of Krogers said it isn't fair that liquors stores have a monopoly on cold beer sales and made other good points. He did say, though, "Allowing Sunday sales would not put all package stores out of business, but most would not be able to compete." He doesn't like the idea of separate 21+ liquor sections in grocery stores partly because it would prevent parents with kids from entering the area.
- Douglas Pendleton of Grapevine Cottage gourmet food and wine store said Sunday is the 2nd busiest and he'd like Sunday carryout.
- Grant Monahan of the Indiana Retail Council said $9 million in sales and excise tax is lost to the Sunday ban because of cross-state shopping. The IRC also "oppose price controls because retailers know best how to price items, and consumers want the best price."
And then the Antis were scheduled.
- John Livengood of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers (the liquor store lobby) played a video and pointed out competition between liquor stores and grocery stores is healthy to have. You can buy cold beer to go at many taverns. The few states that have "wide-open" Sunday sales don't have a strong package store industry.
- Warren Scheidt, also from the IABR, said "Kentucky and Indiana, in that order, have the most conservative alcohol policies, and the lowest number of traffic fatalities. Michigan and Wisconsin have the most liberal alcohol policies and the highest number of alcohol related traffic fatalities."
- Randy Zion who owns the Indianapolis Liquor Barns said "He is not interested in changing the law to expand the non-alcoholic beverage products sold in package stores, because this is contrary to why package stores were created, and package stores cannot compete with grocery and big box stores on these products."
- John Sinder who owns Crown Liquors said "big box retailing has caused a lot of Indiana businesses to die."
- Ronald Culp, owner of Elmwood Liquors in Lafayette, said it will cost $20,000 in labor alone to open on Sunday at his one store. He also made the point that Indiana residents own the liquor stores and if grocery, etc, stores have control over alcohol then that control will effectively be transferred out of Indiana.
- Jerry Corliss, owner of the Chalet Party Shoppes in Elkhart Co. said "Allowing Sunday carryout sales would reduce the value of package store permits. His package store permits cost $300,000 each. Last year the state auctioned off licenses in Westfield and Fishers for $450,000 each." He also predicted "Allowing grocery and drug stores to sell cold beer would put 4 of his 6 stores out of business."
- Pamela Erickson of Public Action Management out of Arizona spoke. PAM supports "alcohol moderation and methods to "push back" on toxic cultural messages that encourage kids to drink." Basically, PAM seems to be a small, 2-person, newsletter that will travel and testify.
- Chris Ward of Lawrence, a private citizen, said "he just wants to be able to drink responsibly on Sunday.
- Rev. Amy Mildenburg from Boone County "spoke to the correlation between repealing blue laws and reduced church attendance and increase in alcohol and drug use by formerly religious people."
- Jeff Harlow of Crossroads Community Church in Kokomo said, among other things, "Deregulating alcohol or making it more accessible, will be making a statement to misdirect children."
- Clarke Kahlo of the Greater Broad Ripple Community Coalition presented the Drug Free Marion County position statement.
- Michael Lockard of the Westside Improvement Association in Evansville refuted David Hanson(point 5 above) and claimed a New Mexico study Hanson denigrated was really a valid study. He also said "Non-liquor stores should use colored bags for carryout liquor so police would have probable cause to question customers about their purchases." He added "Underage drinking in Indiana costs $450 million in medical costs and loss of work costs."
The day ran out of time before people from various neo-prohibitionists and other clubs could testify. These included the Advisory Council on Underage and Binge Drinking, Drug Free Marion County, Drug Free Tippecanoe County, Indiana Collegiate Action Network, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation lackey Indiana Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking (ICRUD).
Written-only testimony included Karen Michler's of Drug Free Tippecanoe County. "Ms. Michler submitted her testimony in writing to the Committee concerning the compliance checks she coordinates, in which a minor accompanied by a plain clothes police officer attempts to purchase carryout alcohol (Exhibit 14). She said of the 121 checks done in Tippecanoe County since January 1, 2009, 5 stores were non-compliant, consisting of convenience stores, a grocery store, and a 'big box store'."
The Interim Study on Alcoholic Beverage Issues' next meeting is Oct 20th, 1pm. Two hours are allocated for public testimony on the topics to be discussed:
- Expanding cold beer sales by vendors other than liquor stores.
- Establishing procedures for allowing direct wine shipments to consumers from Indiana wine sellers and establishing procedures for allowing out of state wine sellers to ship wine, pre-purchased by an Indiana consumer, to an Indiana vendor for delivery to the Indiana consumer.
- Allowing gourmet wine shops to provide wine sampling.
- Additional permits for additional warehouses of beer wholesalers.
- Limitations on the amount of alcoholic beverages that may be purchased at the point of sale for carryout or delivery.