MN Sunday liquor basically fine, nothing special

PHOTO: Tadson Bussey, Flickr CC

There’s a lady who smokes outside this one liquor store I drive by fairly often. I think she works there. She was out there again last Sunday. That got me wondering, how are Sunday sales going?

Well, the local paper was a step ahead of me. I saw this later that day.

A Nov. 26 Duluth News Tribune story by Brooks Johnson indicates that Sunday liquor has been neither boon nor bust in the Zenith City. Duluth has long bled booze customers to Sunday swill-shillers in Wisconsin. Now that they can Sabbath-sell on the Minnesota side, liquor stores report that people are buying, but not abnormally so.

From the story:

“A lot of people came in that first Sunday just because they could — the novelty of it — and it’s staying pretty steady,” Peterson said. “The electricity is already on anyway. It’s kind of a one-person day.”

On the west side of town the story was largely the same.

“If anything it was a hot start and it’s quietly mellowed out,” said 27 Liquor assistant general manager Brandon Pesta. “There’s still plenty of business to stay open for us.”

I’m not sure of the effects here on the Iron Range. Some stores have opted to open for Sunday hours, while others simply remained closed. Just like any other business, the choice is up to the seller and the buyers.

The liquor store lobby actually lobbied against Sunday sales in Minnesota. They argued that having to remain open another day would damage the bottom line of small businesses. It would appear that the seventh day of sales is holding steady. Nothing to see here but bright shiny beer signs and sparkly liquor bottles. Take it or leave it.

In other words, just another day on this spinning ball we call Earth.


  1. The interesting question here from a financial point of view is not how much alcohol is sold on Sundays, but how total sales compare to previous years when opening Sunday was not allowed. Are Sunday sales new business, or are they old business re-distributed to a different day? One answer means that these small businesses are profiting from the law, the other that they are losing money by having higher overhead from additional open hours without any new income.

    The state actually has pretty easy access to that data, in the form of the information from their collections of taxes on liquor, wine, and beer, to allow them to assess the overall performance in the state. Data from specific stores located in border areas which may have previously lost business across the bridges would be a little harder to access, unless the stores themselves released it.

  2. Good thing we spent a bunch of political energy on this, though, right?

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