Sunday liquor sales debate brews in Minn. once more - KMSP-TV

  • The debate over Sunday liquor sales is bubbling up in Minnesota again, with a public awareness campaign kicking off soon. Where do you stand right now?

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Sunday liquor sales debate brews in Minn. once more

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The debate over whether to lift Minnesota's ban on Sunday liquor sales is bubbling up again. This time, activists plan to enlist craft-beer drinkers to their cause.

"We see that it works in every state that surrounds Minnesota," Minnesota Beer Activists founder Andrew Schmitt told Minnesota Public Radio News. "It's just time to make Minnesota part of the rest of the nation."

Minnesota Beer Activists is launching a public awareness campaign for Sunday liquor sales in the coming weeks. The campaign includes a website that lets constituents directly contact their representatives at the state Capitol.

Even so, they face an uphill battle against influential business associations, a strong union and legislators wary of alienating local liquor stores.

Executive Director Frank Ball of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association said the board of his organization has voted year after year to vigorously oppose Sunday liquor sales. The group represents both liquor stores and bars and restaurants that sell alcohol.

"The short version is, we don't want to work on Sunday," Ball told the station. "There's enough liquor sold between Monday through Saturday, and Sunday is the day of rest, the day to be with your families, kind of a religious day -- that's how we've always played it."

Jamie Robinson, owner of Northbound Smokehouse Brewpub in south Minneapolis, supports Sunday sales. He estimated that his business loses between $12,000 and $15,000 in sales each year because he can't sell beer in growlers on Sunday.

"Craft beer is really popular right now, and we feel like there are 52 days a year when we have a product people want and they're just not able to buy it because there's a group of retailers out there who just won't want to work Sundays," Robinson said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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