Booze for sale on Sundays?
November 29, 2007
ASPEN Ever wished you could buy booze on Sunday? Or procure Budweiser with your bread or wine with your Wheaties?Proposed state legislation might make that a reality, yet its hardly getting a ringing endorsement from purveyors of booze in Aspen. Lobbyists have proposed three pieces of legislation that would open liquor stores on Sundays, allow grocery stores to sell beer and wine (not just the watered-down beer, known as 3.2), and allow venues such as art galleries to buy short-term liquor licenses.The legislation is not new to Colorado. In 2005, Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, proposed a similar bill to keep liquor stores open on Sundays. She lost.Ive always found our liquor laws, particularly a ban on Sunday sales, to be antiquated, Veiga was recently quoted in the Denver Post as saying. It just makes no sense.Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, said Tuesday she was unaware of the legislation and wanted to hear more before forming an opinion. Im very interested in what the local input is, Schwartz said. Thats very important to me.Some Aspen liquor store owners oppose a seven-day week, and say the legislation paves the way for the Wal-Martization of the booze industry.I would just as assumed have that day automatically off, said Scott MacCracken, manager of Local Spirits in Aspen.MacCracken said it is a balance between the cost of a seven-day operation and possible increased revenues, and he wasnt sure if the extra day would increase sales volume.Is it worth the extra expense? MacCracken asked.And passing a bill that allows liquor stores to be open on Sundays was the first step to making chain-store liquor sales viable, MacCracken said.Little stores like this may not be able to survive, MacCracken said..Other locals agreed, calling the proposed Sunday opening a gateway legislation that would usher in large chain stores and kill their businesses.Im not working on Sunday, said Johnny Ivansco, a partner at Grape & Grain in Aspen. And its not because hes in church, but hitting the slopes, hiking or biking, he said. Ivansco called the proposed Sunday opening theWal-Martization of liquor sales in the valley.Its not good for any mom-and-pop store, Ivansco said.Some Aspenites, however, argued for consumer convenience, saying most Aspen visitors arrive on Saturday night and shop for booze on Sunday.We are a resort town, said Keith Hemeon, a salesman with Southern Wine and Spirits. It would be good for my business.I appreciate the convenience to the customer, said Ed Barber, an Aspen sales rep for a Denver distributor. While Sunday closure means some loss of business, changing the so-called “blue laws” would be the first step to big outlets edging out the little guy, he said.That opens the door to corporations, Barber said.Chain stores might provide convenience and low cost to consumers, but small outlets mean quality, variety and knowledgeable staff, Barber said.Charles Agars e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org