Sunday, February 04, 2007

A beer's not as good as a wine -- to a blind legislator.

As noted previously, my pizza & beer business will depart from our customary Sunday closing time and open the doors for the Super Bowl. We've done it for the last four years, and if experience is any indicator, Sportstime Pizza will be selling quite a large number of carryout pies on Sunday afternoon and evening as game time draws near.

However, we’ll not be selling carry-out growlers of locally brewed beer, because the state of Indiana prohibits all Sunday carry-out sales of alcoholic beverages.

But wait – that’s not entirely so.

At the same time as the state of Indiana bans the vast majority of beer, wine and spirits sales on Sunday, it permits small craft wineries to sell their wines for carry-out ... on Sunday. This is seen as promoting tourism, but more so than that, it's a testament to the wine industry's dazzling, decades-long success at espousing the notion that a 750 ml bottle of the grape is more worthy of approbation (and legislative exceptions, and free rides) than our 64-ounce growler of the grain.

It’s hypocrisy, and a transparent travesty, and in the end, the major difference between a small craft brewery and a small craft winery is the ability of the latter to lobby effectively without the dead weight of America’s mainstream beer barons (A-B, Miller, et al), which for a half-century have pursued a policy of self-defeatism by persistently behaving in such a boorish manner as to give the “beer = dumb/wine = smart” stereotype undue credence -- and by doing so, unintentionally and hilariously spawning the Mike "Workingman's Drink" Seates of our nation.

However ... once again in 2007, there will be legislation introduced to rectify the native Hoosier inanity. This time around, it appears to be part of a startlingly comprehensive regulatory reform package that is long overdue and makes perfect sense – and consequently, probably has next to “zero” chance of passing.

The following update comes from the Indiana Beer website:

House Bill 1323 was introduced by David Crooks this week is one of the most far-reaching we've seen in Indiana in quite some time. "Requires a local alcoholic beverage board to allow an individual to make oral comments at a public meeting or hearing. Provides that a holder of an alcoholic beverage permit who is authorized by law to sell alcoholic beverages for carryout may sell carryout on Sunday from noon until 6:00 p.m. Allows a retailer to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the licensed premises on Sunday from 10 a.m., prevailing local time, until 3:00 a.m. Allows alcoholic beverages to be sold on election day from noon until 3 a.m. Allows alcoholic beverages to be sold for carryout on New Year's Day."

Perhaps apart from those rare times when the Colts advance to the Super Bowl, it isn’t quite as obvious in Indianapolis as it is to those of us on the borders that each and every Sunday, Indiana fairly hemorrhages tax revenues to surrounding states.

Furthermore, to me, Sunday sales restrictions are a vestige of faith-based blue laws that need to be scourged from the books.

Hey, I’d just like a level playing field – both commercially and conceptually. Craft is craft, whether wine or beer – what’s so hard about understanding that, guys?

And what's so bad about keeping tax revenue right here in Indiana?

1 comment:

antzman said...

While I agree with everything that you stated in the article, I need to digress a bit here....

Go Colts!