Warring Indiana alcohol lobbyists reach deal on Sunday sales

(AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) — Two powerful groups whose past disagreements have blocked attempts to legalize carryout Sunday alcohol sales in Indiana say they have reached an agreement.

The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers and the Indiana Retail Council announced Friday they have resolved differences that scuttled previous attempts to repeal the law.

Liquor store owners represented by the beverage association will drop their opposition to Sunday sales. Retailers, in return, will oppose a proposal allowing convenience and grocery stores to sell cold beer — a right long afforded to liquor stores.

The unified direction came in a joint statement Friday afternoon in which the groups promote a series of policy initiatives that would “strengthen and improve the state’s alcohol laws.”

Among those, the groups call for mandatory age verification check for alcohol purchases and video monitoring of alcohol sales clerks around the state, as well as stronger penalties for adults who host parties and furnish alcohol to minors. The group also called for the fine for selling alcohol to minors to be tripled.

“As responsible retailers, we need safe regulations that ensure that alcohol products do not get into the wrong hands,” the groups wrote in a statement. “These common-sense policy improvements will improve public health and enhance safety measures, while preserving the practices and freedom of retailing that Hoosier businesses and consumers deserve.”

That would include the long-debated (and prohibited) Sunday alcohol sales. Grant Monahan, president of the Indiana Retail Council, said the ideas are “common sense.”

“We are pleased to announce this agreement that strengthens the regulations as to how alcohol is sold in Indiana while also giving Hoosiers greater shopping convenience,” said Monahan. “We look forward to working with the package liquor stores and members of the Indiana General Assembly to put Hoosiers first with common-sense reforms.”

The groups said Hoosiers should have “greater shopping convenience.”

“This agreement proves that we can work together to deliver results for Hoosiers without compromising on safety,” said Jon Sinder, Chairman of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers. “The package liquor store industry along with our friends at the Indiana Retail Council are committed to working directly with legislators to successfully draft and pass meaningful and impactful public policy that will allow Hoosiers to purchase alcohol for carryout on Sundays for the first time since Prohibition.”

In response to Friday’s statement, the group representing Indiana convenience stores said the sudden agreement between two long-warring groups should “call into question the credibility of both organizations.”

In any case, it’s not clear how the groups statement will impact Indiana General Assembly, which has considered Sunday alcohol sales and other similar items in most of its sessions without progress. Last month, a study committee gathered and heard testimony from numerous sides in an examination into whether Indiana needs to change its alcohol laws.

In a wane.com poll, nearly 92 percent of more than 1,700 respondents said Hoosiers be allowed to buy alcohol on Sundays.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.