CT Beer Trail

What side of the fence do you sit on regarding the potential for Sunday sales at package stores?

 

It certainly would be more convenient for consumers.  Apparently the Governor supports the proposed bill, but some store owners think the potential for Sunday sales would hurt smaller stores competing with larger grocery store chains. Some are saying it could cause many businesses to go under.  

 

What are your thoughts?

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Personally I think it is high time to eliminate the "blue laws" (that is what they're called, right)? But I don't see the potential for lost profit. I mean if ALL package stores were open on Sundays, I'd still go to my usual small businesses. Just because it's Sunday doesn't mean I'll truck over to Stop and Shop. As far as I can see it package stores attract their share of "regulars" who would go to their given haunts over a grocery store any day (at least I have my short-list of preferred package stores). 

I think a lot of places say that they can't really afford to pay someone to watch the shop on Sundays, and/or they like to have a break in what is other wise a long week of 12 hour days (an understandable concern).

The thing is selling beer on Sundays WOULD help our deficit. I don't think that point is in contention.  

I think the logic is, more folks would be likely to hit the local grocery on Sunday (rather than the beer store) and may pick up a 6-pack then that they may otherwise buy at the package store on Saturday. I think we would need to separate craft beer sales on Sunday from total beer sales to get the point of view of shop owners.

You and I would go get quality beer at the package store, but "Joe 6-Pack" can get his case of Busch Light at the local grocery and doesn't need to make that extra run to the corner shop with great craft beer on the shelves if he's already picking up a loaf of bread and some eggs on Sunday. At least that's how the anti-Sunday-sales point of view was explained to me by the guy at my local beer store.

I'm still on the fence myself. I know there were times I wish I could get beer on a Sunday. But I certainly can live without it, especially with some good planning. I think I need more info on this one to make up my mind.

With that said, I don't think the idea of an additional opportunity to tax me and my friends to help the state make up for its over spending is a good reason to change the law, I say spend more responsibly in Hartford and keep you hands out of my wallet.

I don't buy what the package store owner told you.  If that were the case, no one would ever go to a package store during the other days of the week, since it is always more convenient to go to a place that sells other things you may need, not just on Sundays.  On the other hand, if someone already did their grocery shopping on Saturday, but drank all of their beer Saturday night, or found out about a party on Sunday at the last minute, why would they drive farther to go to the grocery store, than their local package store if all they need is beer?  I think the convenience is the key.  It depends on the situation. 

 

P.S. I completely agree with the last paragraph. 

The simple fact is that we are in a free market economy.  Those that do not want to utilize the beer permit issued to them one day a week is free to do so.  But why not embrace the Sunday sales when consumers have nothing better to do but drive around from shop to shop during the weekend?  Instead, choose another day not to sell.  Retail is notorious for having poor sales on Wednesdays, so why not choose to close your store on that day instead?  The large grocery store chains are no better off on that day either. People just tend to shop closer to either end of the weekend.  I am almost certain that the distributor drivers will not be delivering liquor on Sundays.

 

Speaking of delivery, ever notice how mom and pop pizza restaurants are closed on Mondays?  They want a day off, so they take a day off.  It doesn't stop Pizza Hut, Papa Johns, or Dominos from selling pizza on Mondays.  Do we hear the small time pizza places complaining that it hurts their business that the big name Pizza places are open 7 days a week?  Of course not.  The simple fact is that the smaller package store owners have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay a lobbyist to protect their interests where as the pizza joints have not.

 

I don't think we should stop at Sunday sales.  I say, extend the sales to 11 PM, allow sales in gas stations and convenience stores, and allow sales of liquor under 30 proof (which would include most wine, and some liqueurs (triple sec, blue curacao, sloe gin, etc.) in grocery stores.

I can't argue with the free market comment. I suppose less restrictions could be a good thing, and may encourage businesses to set themselves apart by selling more craft beer to offer what the large groceries do not.

I would love to get the beer store point of view on here too. We are talking with a few now, stay tuned.
Those that do not want to utilize the beer permit issued to them one day a week is free to do so.

Yeah, this. I mean the biggest argument I have heard about beer sales on Sunday is the mom-n-pop shops who go into "the sky is falling hysterics" because they want to take a break on Sundays, and that one day of lost revenue apparently will be enough to ruin them outright. I mean if the laws were loosened up a bit the small shops could open a few hours on Sunday, or just not at all. 

 

This law has always seemed odd to me, as I've personally been in the situation tons of times when I'm going to a buddy's house for a meal/ to watch the game/ whatever, and I realize that I'm out of beer completely. Now if the "packys" were open on Sunday I bet it would end up being a good day of sales, especially in the Spring/Summer.

I would love to appreciate the store owner's side of this story, the ones who are very against Sunday sales.  I just cannot grasp their fears as entirely rational.

 

Giving all stores the legal option of opening on a Sunday does not immediately equal a loss of sales to the "mom and pop" stores who choose to be closed.  In essence there is no loss of sale for a store that continues to be closed on a Sunday, those are sales that never would have been recognized now.  You can not lose what you did not have.  If you are my usual shop and are not open on a Sunday, guess I am going somewhere else on Sunday should the need arise....not every other time.  Micheal P. makes a good point that stores looking for a day off could opt to close midweek instead if staffing was that much of a hardship for one more day a week.   Then again, if you look to neighboring states like Massachusetts which currently benefit from our laws, their liquor stores close at 6 on Sundays.  That is one shift of work.  Remember the stink that happened when liquor sales were extended to 9PM?  Half the smaller stores I know of are only open til 9 Thursday-Saturday....because it is VOLUNTARY. 

 

This also relates to the fear Brian O. points out, that Sunday sales will only benefit grocery stores.  Why, are only "joe six packers" supporting this change?  Have you seen the selection at Stop and Shop????  I personally have never purchased beer from a grocery store, and while I may be part of the minority I can honestly say I do not see many people buying beers the other 6 days a week at one either.  Claiming that your small business will suffer because you believe only macro beer drinkers will be out shopping on a Sunday, and only at a grocery store, is admitting to you and your customers you are not a strong supporter of craft beer.  Or at least that your store really is not a craft beer mecca to begin with, which again I believe goes to my theory that you aren't losing profits that you never would have had regardless of the law.

 

We are but 1 of 14 states who ban Sunday liquor sales.  This is NOT a revolutionary idea in its infancy looking to make social policy.  Right now CT is in a severe deficit, with a Government looking to increase taxes and cut salaries and programs to make the difference instead of looking for creative ways to increase profits.  The state of Massachusetts realizes more income than CT from my paycheck because of their liquor laws, as they apply to registration of brands and extended purchasing hours and days. 

I think that Sunday sales can be a benefit if the stores utilize the extra day effectively. Why not make it an "event day?" Do a beer tasting, do a wine tasting. Give "Joe Six-Pack" a reason to come to your store, rather than the supermarket. If the store owners are worried about extra costs, try a test run and open limited hours on Sunday. When I lived in NYC, liquor was not available on Sundays. The law changed, and stores that were open from only 12-3 on Sundays, started being open, 12-4, then 12-6 and so on...hardly seems like the detriment that people are talking about. On the practical side, if I'm having some friends over to watch a game on Sunday, I'm going to run down to my local package store for a beer run, rather than going all the way down to the Supermarket.  Like Bryon pointed out, people need to be smart about the way they do business and spend money- that goes for local businesses and government alike. Strike down the blue laws and help keep CT dollars in CT, not in Mass or RI.

 

I like the idea of an "event day" for Sundays.   I think great ideas can get lost in the shuffle when small business owners are struggling to make things work.  Paying the rent has that ability to suck the creativity out of the way you do things...

I agree with everyone's arguments here.  I have thought about this topic for awhile now and I am against having beer/liquor sold on Sundays for several reasons.  

I have been there before on a Sunday morning opening the fridge before the game and realizing I forgot to pick up more beer the night before.  Knowing that I can’t buy more beer, I gather my friends and change venues to a local bar/restaurant to enjoy the game, drink some beers, and eat nachos.  Sure this is more expensive for me, but I know my money is going back into one of my favorite establishments.  If beer is sold on Sundays, I think this might affect the amount of revenue bars/restaurants earn on a Sunday.

 

We all know that over 75% of beers sold here in CT are BMC products.  The tax-revenue the state hopes to earn is from all these Marco beers, not craft.  Saturdays are pretty much the busiest day for most shops, but remember all the beer shipped in CT from the 3-teir system are Union drivers who do not work on Sundays.  Most stores tend to operate under the Just-In-Time inventory approach for their marco beer products since they don’t age well.  If store A is very busy on Saturday and runs out of bud light, they can not get any more till Sunday.  The customer who went to store A will leave emptied handed and go to store B for his precious bud light, since most marco drinkers don’t like to try anything new.  This will result in lost potential profits for store A since they make their money off of marco drinkers.  I feel that these types of experiences will happen if beer is sold on Sundays and may prevent a customer from going to store A in the future since the truck drivers wont deliver on Sundays and they rarely come out on Saturdays.  Sure a business may chose not to be open Sunday,

 

Most people tend to do their grocery shopping on Sundays and on that day, all the beer is locked away in the coolers.  During the week I noticed that most stores like Stop and Shop seem to sell their marco beer cheaper then my local package stores.  Grocery stores sell beer, not to make large profit, but to keep you only shopping there for all your grocery/small purchase needs. A package store will make most of their profits on their marco beer sales. It is easier for a grocery store to sell beer on a Sunday for less of a cost since they already have a full staff on duty that day.  A liquor store needs to spend money having a staff on duty.  Sure they don’t have to be open, but people will just change their buying habits to pick up their weekly 30 rack on Sundays now when they buy their milk and eggs.  Their Saturday sales will go down and will need to be open Sunday to make up for it.  Mom and Pop pizza places can survive taking Monday off since most people don’t eat out on Mondays compared to the weekend and there are selling you a hand made product that is only made their. I know I will drive to New Haven for good, pricier pizza, but I won’t drive distances for more expensive macro beers.  Pizza places can control their profits since their products are in house, not dropped off by Clydesdale themed trucks.

A big argument I keep hearing is loss of beer revenue sales to people that drive to Mass for beer.  I only drive to Mass to get beers I can not get here in this state.  The state only cares about Tax dollars it seems, but they forget that people who buy a 12 pack on Saturday will just buy a 12 pack on Sunday instead at the grocery store.  Bar/restaurant tax dollars for Sundays may go down now.  All in all I know the state will change the law even though I don’t really think it will help. I will be interested in seeing how this affects people buying habits though.

I understand and agree with your points to a degree. Knowing that I'm out of beer on a Sunday doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to go to the local bar however. I've had guys over for poker on Sunday nights for instance, and I don't think the Main Pub would appreciate us taking up one of their tables for playing cards all night. 

That's just a for instance. I think it's a great idea to change venues, but know it's not always the option. The other option is to go dry.

I think above and beyond beer, the idea of selling liquor itself is part and parcel with that. Maybe someone who drinks scotch (like myself) and can't get that at the grocery store will go to the local package store to get a bottle, and along the way, pick up some beer. We're tending to focus myopically on the beer end of it (of course, within the context of the board and all) and while beer sales might suffer at the smaller locations on the larger brands,  those that want the craft beers will go to them and find them. 

According to estimates by the Distilled Spirit Council, an increase of 5-8% in tax revenue has been seen by other states that allow Sunday sales. I've not seen nor can I find any contrary data that suggests liquor stores have closed, been hurt, nor can I find any info on the revenues of restaurants on Sunday due to liquor sales. I don't know if it's because it hasn't been studied or because it doesn't exist but I'd like to know if there is any correlation.

It seems that the folks that were going to buy on Sunday at the grocery stores are buying out of convenience . Those that need other liquors and craft beers are going to go find them. While you might not go elsewhere to get beer on Sundays, there are A LOT of folks who do. That's why Yankee Spirits is so popular and known here in CT and they advertise frequently in the Hartford Courant. 

Well, in case you missed the news, Sunday sales will not be happening: 

 

http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-sunday-liquor-sales-03... 

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