City Desk

Sunday Booze, Coming Soon?

Mike DeBonis reports:

D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) said today he is likely to recommend allowing Sunday sales for holders of Class A (liquor store) licenses as part of the city budget. The additional $710,000 in sales tax revenue that would be generated by dropping the restriction would go some way toward the $3.2 million Graham needs to find to kill Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s proposal to extend bar hours as late as 4 a.m.

Not being able to buy hard liquor on Sundays is a minor annoyance, but when push comes to shove, we'd rather have later bar hours. And even if sales were allowed on Sundays, there's no guarantee liquor stores would start selling. Back in January, Aaron Morrissey pondered whether D.C. would ever overturn the "blue laws." He noted that the cost of being open on Sundays could outweigh the profit for the mom-and-pop stores.

Photo by Intangible Arts via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

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  • drez

    I don't understand the argument that increasing hours (or days) of liquor sales will increase city tax revenues. It seems to me that any extra money residents spend on these items will come at the expense of money they would spend on other items (which are also likely taxed at 10%).
    The only way it really makes sense is if the goal is to attract additional spending from out-of-jurisdiction but, if that is the case, perhaps late night (after metro stops running) liquor sales isn't the best idea? And is there really a cost advantage to DC or MD residents to drive into DC to buy their liquor rather than do that locally?
    It's not that I necessarily oppose Sunday sales, I just think the economic justification is BS.

  • Mrs. D

    The only thing I can think of drez, is a situation like happened to us a few weekends ago. We were gathering for a shin dig on Sunday, and all the nearby purveyors of fine adult beverages were liquor, rather than convenience/grocery (beer and wine) stores. Having no cars amongst those already gathered, we phoned a friend on the way in from VA, who kindly stopped (in VA) and picked up alcoholic provisions. We could have planned better, but it was just as easy to have him bring it. But, I imagine that situations like this will bring in relatively modest revenue. Maybe the idea is that people will swap relatively cheap beer and wine for pricier liquors, given the opportunity, and we'll capture *some* people who are going to the burbs for their Sunday liquor needs? I still don't see $7.1 million in additional sales on this, though.