West Virginia Considers Allowing Sunday Sales for Distilled Spirits

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The West Virginia legislature is considering a bill that would, among other reforms, allow Sunday sales of distilled spirits in the Mountain State. The Herald Mail Media reports that the bill would allow statewide hard spirit sales on Sundays after 10 a.m. as well as Sunday sales at distilleries:

Counties and home-rule municipalities currently can decide whether to allow restaurants and other licensed establishments to begin Sunday alcohol sales, but an alcohol administration official said the lack of uniformity across the state has created a "logistical nightmare."

Thirteen counties, including Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties, and 18 home-rule municipalities, including Martinsburg, Charles Town, Ranson and Shepherdstown, allow Sunday sales.

Among other changes, the bill proposes allowing Sunday retail sales of liquor at a distillery or mini-distillery on Sundays at 10 a.m., a change area distillery owners wanted.

It appears that beer wholesalers and The Family Policy Council of West Virginia are both opposing this reform by ginning up scary hypothetical headlines such as: "Drunk Driver Kills a Bunch of Kids Coming Out of Church After Sunday School." Given that Sunday sales of beer and wine are already permissible in West Virginia, this line of argument is less than persuasive. In an age when a glass of a high-ABV craft beer can contain as much or more alcohol as a shot of liquor, it is irrational to draw arbitrary distinctions between different kinds of alcoholic beverages.

The reality is that 40 states currently allow Sunday sales of hard spirits and more are following suit. Minnesota repealed its Sunday sales ban last year, and Indiana overturned its version of a blue law just this week. The trend here is toward more freedom, and West Virginians are right to not want to be left behind.