Is it time to allow Minnesotans to buy liquor on Sundays?

Several cash-strapped states, including Minnesota, are once again considering proposals to end their bans on store-based alcohol sales on Sundays as a way to generate revenue. Today’s Question: Is it time to allow Minnesotans to buy liquor on Sundays?

  • Michael

    It is definitely time to do away with this law, and the law banning car sales on Sunday. These laws make no sense in 2011 and are inconvenient for customers. They should be removed simply for practical purposes, not just to generate revenue.

  • Wade


  • It is time—but it is not on time—it is late. And time to allow liquor sales in grocery stores as well. Where is our free market, why can we not practice what we preach/

  • Dianne

    Yes, blue laws are antiquated.

  • J

    Yep, although it would mean some loss in the Sunday beer business in Hudson!

  • We’ve been having a conversation on this very topic at MPR’s Insight Now.

    The claim by an alcohol trade organization that Minnesota would gain $10 million annually if they allowed Sunday liquor sales met with skepticism by some of you in our conversation on the merits of lifting the ban. @Charlie just doesn’t buy the math.

    Others at Insight Now see the blue law as a remnant of religious doctrine or even as a throwback to Scandinavian roots. And you might be surprised by the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association’s reason for keeping the ban in place.

  • Amy

    Yes, considering this law is well over 100 years old, its time. It good for business and good for tax revenue

  • mike


  • Sue

    Yes. Stop restricting liquor sales on Sunday and allow grocery stores to sell it also. It is time we eliminated all the old blue laws.

  • Joe Schaedler

    Heck yeah! We already can buy liquor on Sunday anyway, we just have to find a bar for it on that day.

  • anna

    yes yes yes. overdue.

  • Carolyn

    People who live in Southern MN drive to Iowa to buy alcohol on Sundays just as people drive to WI around here. Keep the money and tax revenue in this state, I say! Even if it’s not $10 million as mentioned earlier, it’ll be more than zero. With a budget deficit as large as we have right now, any income generation should be welcomed.

    Also, having lived in Iowa for 7 years, you can go to the grocery store and buy ANY type of liquor – beer, wine, hard liquor – 7 days a week. The only time you couldn’t buy liquor was between 2am (when the bars closed) and 6am. Seems to work pretty well for that state! Why not MN?

  • Dana

    Yes! It’s way past time for this old, outdated law to be changed.

  • rose

    How would Sunday sales increase the market for liquor as opposed to just bringing sales forward. If the State thinks that Sunday sales increases market share, that could be a mistake.

    Sunday sales would mean increase part time employment for workers, or less free time for store owners.

  • Chris

    When I moved from Chicago to attend college I was stunned by three things. The cleanliness the Minneapolis/Saint Paul; the failure of cars to yield the right-of-way to busses; and the puritanical liquor laws. It’s been over 25 years and I still find all three amazing.

  • Danielle

    Yes! As Carolyn mentioned that we can go to Wisconsin and Iowa, having lived near North Dakota for several years, we will find a way to buy liquor on Sunday anyway. Better that people buy liquor to drink at home than go to the bar and drive home.

  • Joe

    I really don’t understand why it has ever been the way it is now. If you live in the metro it’s probably an hour round trip to Wisconsin to support their busineses on a Sunday. Grocery stores should be able to sell also.

  • Jeff

    Yes, the law that forces liquor stores to stay closed on Sundays is outdated and is a legacy of our extreme religous past. It’s time to move forward and start collecting that Sunday revenue that other nearby states are getting from us. Besides, how ridiculous is it that you can’t go to the liquor store and pick up a few beers on Superbowl Sunday?

  • Jill

    Absolutely! Perhaps the law came into play through Christian influence, to preserve the Sabbath. While I am a Christian, and Sunday is typically my own Sabbath, this is not true for most people, especially pastors who work on Sundays! Not to mention all of people of other religious and non-religious beliefs existing in our state to whom this law is simply ludicrous. Bring it on! and also in the grocery store, please.

  • Reed

    Yes! I will miss the occasional Sunday afternoon drives to Hudson, WI for beer we forgot to buy on Saturday! But I think we should keep those tax dollars here in Minnesota. It’s a no brainer.

  • DMox

    I work in a grocery store 6 miles from the Wisconsin border. My Sunday shift usually consists of about 2 dozen or more calls from people wondering where the closes place to buy wine, beer or liquor. That’s just me. One store. Sending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars across the border each week.

    Beyond the tax revenue generated from the actual sale, there is the payroll taxes and income taxes generated from the need for more staffing.

    When I moved here I was stunned that this blue law existed in an otherwise cosmopolitan & progressive community. I was told that the liquor distributors and trucking/delivery unions and lobby are what keep the law in place, as they don’t want to have to pay for Sunday delivery & distribution. I assure you that any liquor or grocery store can survive one day without a delivery, and I find this excuse to be empty. So what gives?

    Also, it’s not just about the money….it’s about the embarrassment of living in a place where puritanical laws still abide.

  • Michelle

    Oh my stars. YES!

  • Ute

    Absolutely. I don’t know what the origin of this law is and will surely miss joking about it with my European friends who visit me here; but – please – when you can purchase alcohol in neighboring states on Sundays, all this law does is 1. to strain the environment 2. move taxable consumption into other states 3. frustrate.

  • Sean

    Yes.. This and EVERY other blue law should be repealed. Not because the state needs money, but because they seem unconstitutional assuming the basis for these laws is the Christian rule of ‘keeping the Sabbath holy’. “Freedom of Religion” should also mean “Freedom FROM Religion”, in my humble opinion.

  • Mark

    This is a winner. Next, we should do away with the restrictions on selling beer/liqour/wine at grocery and convenience stores.

    Down with the blue laws!

  • Jo

    Yes, If you can drink it on Sundays, you should be allowed to buy it on Sundays

  • Jo

    Yes, If you can drink it on Sundays, you should be allowed to buy it on Sundays

  • Kaleb

    Yes, plain and simple. If liquor store owners dont want to work on Sundays, put out the “closed” sign. Keep your laws off my booze.

  • Alison

    Absolutely! Down with the blue laws and all the other rules of religions that have been codified into civil law. Others include the bans on car sales on Sunday and same sex marriage. These religious rules have no place in this nation with a separation of church and state!

  • Matthew

    Yes, of course, the blue law should be repealed. But the question wrongly implies that up to this very moment the state of Minnesota has acted properly by favoring the scribblings of an ancient Jewish religion over its citizens’ right to contract. If we repeal this law, let’s do so in recognition of the fact that religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, and that it, therefore, should never be allowed to infect the process of contemporary law-making.

  • John O.

    Yes, this law has outlived its usefulness. You can buy “3.2” beer at your local convenience store in Minnesota, but not “strong” beer. “Strong” beer typically has an alcohol content of six percent or less.

    Let’s take care of two birds at the same time and eliminate 3.2.

  • steve

    yes because it is a revenue source for the liquor business-maybe open at 11am!

  • Tony


  • Jordan Prosser

    Yes, what a stupid law. Although it’s passing should have nothing to do with wanting to gather revenue, but just out of principle and practicality.

    It’s OK for me to drink it on Sunday, but god forbid I buy it.

    It’s a lot like Hemp, we can buy it and use it, but don’t you dare grow it! It doesn’t make sense and is immensely impractical.

  • Matthew

    YES! I need my ligga on Sundayz. Yeah, ‘cuz I need id. Wuz id do you. Yer nod the bozz a me…

  • Erik

    Yes! This should definitely be appealed. We should also be able to buy alcohol in grocery stores.

  • DCM

    Yes! Stop losing business to neighboring states because of antiquated laws.

  • Joel

    Yes – I need some sedation when I watch the Vikes on Sundays! I guess in a couple years it won’t matter.

  • Karen S.

    YES! And auto sales should be allowed on Sundays, too. These religion-based “blue laws” are outdated and unconstitutional as well. Best be rid of them!

  • James

    #1. I think we have bigger fish to fry.

    #2. If you can’t plan head ONE day.. perhaps you should be dry.

    Keep it as is and make some real decisions.


  • Paul

    Yes, I think it’s an OK idea to sell alcohol on Sundays. The religion-based blue laws that presently disallow it are wickedly outdated.

    That said, I find it hard to believe that it will provide significant income for the state, though it will certainly affect the liquor stores in such places as Houlton Wisconsin (across the Stillwater bridge).

    I likewise feel that sales in grocery (etc.) stores should be revisited… at least (real) beer and wine.

    By the way, I don’t consume alcoholic beverages.

  • shelley

    oh, my, this is way overdue; and while they are at it they can let grocery stores sell wine and beer too

  • Dennis

    Yes, Absolutely

    Liquor sales should be allowed on Sunday

    Allowing liquor sales on Sunday does not mandate every liquor store to be open.

    They have choices.

  • Jessica Baltzley

    Of course! These blue laws are an anachronism!

  • Bekki

    Of course. It is really the silliest and most antiquated law I’ve ever heard. Next step, allow car sales on Sundays!

  • Kevin

    Let’s see, no background checks for gun sales and liquor sales on Sundays. Seems the GOP has their priorities in order…

  • Dan

    I’m going to go against the grain here and say no. When the state is short on money, we shouldn’t look to raise more revenue by encouraging more drinking. I’m not convinced blue laws are a great idea, but this is the wrong reason to dump them.

  • Shawn Dokken

    YES. it’s about time. religion-based laws should no longer be on the books. if we get more money, great; but that alone should not be the reason. also allow alcohol in grocery stores.

    i do not drink alcoholic beverages at all. i do not promote or condone alcohol abuse. yet this law is simply ridiculous. get rid of it.

  • shane

    Yes. Start letting individuals make their own decisions!

  • steve

    Sure and cars too but not at the same time 🙂

    With work schedules what they are, it would be nice to shop for a car on Sunday. Evenings and Saturdays make it tough.

    I just enjoy shopping for wine and that seems like a nice Sunday activity sometimes. Why not?

    They both seem like silly laws.

  • Todd Hughes

    If the question is about raising revenue, lower the legal drinking age to 18 when I had my first legal drink in Minnesota (Google it and do the math). All the blue laws were in effect at the time (plus some) and I and most of my conteporaries got through it just fine. Get the disposable income from the 18-20 year olds. That’s were the money’s at.

  • Craig

    I would make the following changes:

    * allow liquor-store sales on Sunday

    * eliminate the after 10am prohibition of alcohol sales (at restaurants) on sunday

    * liquor stores should be allow to operate w/ the same hours as a bar–if they want to close earlier that’s their option

    * eliminate 3.2% beer (it serves no purpose)

    * allow liquor to be sold anywhere (e.g. a grocery store)

    * eliminate the beer-wine license; either you have a license to sell liquor or you don’t

    * lower the drinking age to 18 (to be consistent w/ tobacco sales and gambling rules)

  • craig

    And another thing:

    * scrap the law(s) that prevent individuals from distilling whiskey.

  • Sean

    If the issue is really about revenue generation we should not only eliminate all Blue Law policies we should also lift the tax exemption status on all religious organizations.

  • Kyle

    How did this law even pass in the first place? Of all of the comments, I thought the one with the quote, “freedom of religion, should also mean freedom FROM religion” said it best. Guess what people, not everybody has to observe YOUR sabbath.

  • Chris

    Yes for the time being, I have to drink on Sunday because the Vikings are on my TV.


  • Al B.

    This law is like one of those you read about that is still on the books, but no one would believe. Like the law in Minneapolis that states “Red cars may not drive down Lake Street.” or the old lurking ordinance “It is illegal to stand around any building without a good reason to be there.” If the market supports businesses that desire to sell alcohol on Sundays let them sell away.

  • Todd

    I fail to see how this will have any significant increase in liquor sales and a tax on those sales. This will not cause an increase in the purchase of alcohol. Alcohol is available six days a week and has been for decades. People know it and have adjusted their behavior accordingly.

    This issue has come up before and it has often been the liquor stores that have resisted it. All it means is that they will have to be open an additional day each week to sell the same amount of alcohol. But they will increase their costs with additional staff, only to reduce their overall profit margin.

    Now, if you want to sell alcohol on Sundays because you think that it is unethical to limit the days at all, I can at least listen to that. But don’t try and sell it as a way to increase sales and therefore taxes on those sales.

  • Paul

    This is my second response to this question… In addition to permitting Sunday sales and grocery etc. store sales of alcohol, it would be quite productive, I think, to slap on an additional tax. I no longer imbibe, but even when I did (heavily) I informally advocated for 25¢ tax per drink… e.g. bottle/can of beer, ounce of liquor, etc. I’d have paid a lot of additional tax that way, but alcohol is an unnecessary luxury, and one that all too often results in use of government-provided services (e.g. police for DWI, domestics.) Tobacco tax was increased substantially during the Pawlenty years (!!)… why not alcohol, too?

  • G N

    Aside from the fact that this no-sale on Sunday is the dumbest outdated law on the books, I seem to be able to get by and have enough beer on Sunday. Especially during football season. On Saturday I pick up some extra beer for Sunday. I call it my “Holy Beer”.

    Another thought. Seeing how our society is becoming more and more secular; prayer in schrools, LAWSUIT!, Nativity scene in a park, LAWSUIT! Mentioning God or Jesus as a football game or graduation ceremony, LAWSUIT! And yet it’s illegal to sell beer on the Christian sabbath. Am I the only one who sees the hypocrisy here?

  • Steve the Cynic

    Was this a Republican idea? It was the Republicans who advocated prohibition in the early 20th Century. Seems a bit hypocritical to push booze now while continuing to resist the legalization of pot.

    But I can see why it makes sense for the Gang Of Plutocrats to suggest this now. Selling more booze will help numb people to the growing wealth disparity. If people are drunk enough, they’ll be less likely to worry about the increasing consolidation of inherited wealth in the hands of a wealthy few.

  • MAC

    Yes, yes, yes!

    If they need a government-mandated day off, let it be Wednesday.

    I can’t accept that Minnesota is more uptight in this regard than North Dakota.

  • Kevin VC


    Never really understood the lack of access….

    Granted where I live I can hit Wisconsin…

    But honestly it made little sense, maybe a left over when businesses in Minnesota generally were not open on Sunday? Man, Sunday sucked back then…

    (oddly enough Sunday seems to be the only day I think about getting any….)

  • DNA

    Given that alcohol costs millions in dollars and lives each year … a reasonable trade-off might be to legalize Cannabis/Hemp/Ganja/Marijuana (which has killed no one). People should have a safer alternative that doesn’t ruin (or end) lives.

    I’m not much of a drinker. Alcohol is one of my least favorite substances. On a rare occasion that I’ve wanted to buy a bottle of red wine on a Sunday I would remember that silly blue law, and that I’d rather toke up instead.

    Legalization of the world’s most useful and versatile plant, Cannabis/Hemp/Ganja/Marijuana, is extremely overdue.

    Please watch The Union:

    and consider:

    Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica. – Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President, from a letter written by Lincoln during his presidency to the head of the Hohner Harmonica Company in Germany

    Prohibition… goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes… A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded. – Abraham Lincoln

    Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere! – George Washington, U.S. President

    The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world. – Carl Sagan

    Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.

    – Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

    Some of my finest hours have been spent on the back of my veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as the eye can see. – Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President

    If the words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.

    – Terence McKenna

    We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption. – John Adams, U.S. President

    Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?

    – Henry Ford

    Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could. – William F. Buckley, Jr

    ‎The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents. – William F. Buckley, 1983

    Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marihuana in private for personal use… Therefore, I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marihuana. – Jimmy Carter, U.S. President: Message to Congress, August 2, 1977.

    ‎After two years of doctor-and-patient testimony, the D.E.A.s chief administrative law judge, Francis L. Young, ruled that ‘marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substance known to man’. – Nick Jones

    “Herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction.” – Bob Marley.

    That is not a drug. It’s a leaf. – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California

    “I think we consume far more dangerous drugs that are legal: cigarette smoking, nicotine and alcohol. I feel they cause much more devastating effects physically. We need to lift the prohibition on marijuana.” former Surgeon General of the United States, Joycelyn Elders voicing her support for legalization of marijuana

    The criminalization of the world’s most useful and versatile plant, Cannabis/Hemp/Marijuana/Ganja, was Unconstitutional … a crime against humanity and nature. ~ DNA

    ‎”The war may not be quite over but any stigma still left lingering around cannabis consumption today is largely restricted to out of date and increasingly unenforced pieces of legislation. So indelibly stamped on our culture has cannabis become that it must now rank as the most popular and controversial plant on the planet.” – Nick Jones

    The war on drugs has been an utter failure. We need to rethink and decriminalize our nation’s marijuana laws. – Barack Obama, U.S. President

  • Mike Lilja

    Sure. I don’t see any moral difference between buying liquor at a bar or liquor in a liquor store. I really don’t think it will make much revenue difference though as people either were stocking up on Friday/Saturday or going to the bar on Sunday. To me, the bigger question is, should we treat Sunday as any other day? If one business is open, then all should be open or all should be closed.

  • Clif

    Yes we should change the law. It just makes good sense and serves no useful purpose. It makes criminals out of people who find a way to get there wine, beer and spirits anyway even if they don’t live near a border state that does sell on Sundays.

  • cliff

    Agree liquor should be available in grocery stores too.

  • Steve

    Sunday sales should be allowed.



  • Jerry

    absolutely,lost revenue for the State,the retailers,and bars should be able to have off sale on Sundays as well.All this coming from a man that does not drink!

  • complicatedgirl

    Yes, it is a religion-based law and therefore inappropriate for our (supposedly) secular government.