Study: If You Let People Buy Beer at Grocery Stores, the Liquor Stores Still Survive
Repealing “blue laws” and allowing Sunday alcohol sales has much less of a negative effect than doomsayers predicted.
That’s according to a new research paper by Cristina Connolly and Alyssa McDonnell of the University of Connecticut, Marcello Graziano of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Sandro Steinbach of North Dakota State University. The study, published in the Journal of Wine Economics by Cambridge University Press, “examine[d] the impact of repealing Sunday blue laws on alcohol sales and retail competition, focusing on Connecticut’s 2012 policy change allowing Sunday beer sales in grocery stores.”
Connecticut repealed its long-standing prohibition on Sunday alcohol sales in 2012—more than a century after the law was introduced and three decades after the Connecticut Supreme Court deemed most of the state’s other Sunday sales prohibitions unconstitutional. Liquor stores would also be allowed to open on Sundays, in addition to letting grocery stores sell beer on that day.
The repeal of blue laws is not without its critics. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s MIT Tech Talk newspaper, a 2008 study found that “repealing America’s blue laws not only decreased church attendance, donations and spending, but it also led to a rise in alcohol and drug use among people who had been religious.”
Connecticut’s repeal was opposed at the time by liquor store owners themselves, who expressed concern about everything from the “social costs” of more alcohol sales to the extra expense incurred from being open an extra day.
“Proprietors of liquor stores in Connecticut and store association lobbyists claimed that allowing Sunday sales would negative
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