Why It Makes Sense

Current Situation

Can you believe it? Minnesota is supposed to be a fairly progressive state, yet we are one of only 12 states that still prohibits Sunday sales. The ban was enacted more than 80 years ago – in 1935 – two years after the end of Prohibition in the United States.

The MN Consumers First Alliance launched “Why Not Sundays?” – a campaign in support of Sunday sales in Minnesota in 2014. The MN Consumers First Alliance is a broad-based group of Minnesotans and companies that support pro-consumer policies and competition rather than protecting the liquor industry’s self-interests. Supporters of the coalition are committed to meeting and exceeding consumer expectations and to supporting competition.

We believe consumers deserve to enjoy the convenience of purchasing wine, beer and spirits on Sundays just as they do for other products.

Sunday sales has support from legislators from both political parties across Minnesota. Governor Mark Dayton stated he would sign Sunday sales legislation into law if approved by the Legislature.

However, powerful liquor interests and their lobbying organizations in the state have repeatedly blocked previous legislative efforts to allow Sunday sales in Minnesota. They oppose Sunday sales to protect their own self-interests – not the interests of consumers.

To beat the opponents of Sunday sales, legislators need to hear the “voice of consumers” – constituents like you.

Reasons to support Sunday Sales

Allowing Sunday sales offers convenience for the consumer.

  • Sundays are a convenient shopping day for consumers. Prohibiting Sunday sales no longer reflects today’s consumer shopping preferences.  

  • Consumers deserve the convenience of shopping for wine, beer and spirits at retail stores on Sundays just as they do for other products. With different work schedules, family activities and changing demographics, Sundays have become one of the largest shopping days to accommodate our busy lives.

Allowing Sunday sales encourages competition.

  • The border states of Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota allow Sunday sales. Minnesota stores located in border communities are at a competitive disadvantage when consumers jump across the state line to legally make purchases on Sundays.
  • Sunday sales would give store owners the choice to be open on Sundays. There is no mandate for stores to open. Stores should be allowed to decide what’s in the best interests of their customers, employees and bottom lines.
  • For those stores who choose to open, Sunday sales mean the potential for more customers and higher revenues.

Allowing Sunday sales is good for Minnesota.

  • The prohibition on Sunday sales has a negative impact on our state’s tax revenue.
  • It has been estimated that Minnesota loses more than $10 million in annual tax revenue due to Sunday closings.

Solid majority of Minnesotans support Sunday sales.

  • The MN Consumers First Alliance asked the following question – “Generally, do you favor or oppose the concept of allowing liquor stores to sell to consumers on Sundays?” Among those who shop for beer, wine or spirits a couple of times/month or more, the survey found that 77% support allowing Sunday sales; only 15% oppose.

Q & A

Why are there no Sunday sales of beer, wine and spirits in Minnesota?

Minnesota banned Sunday sales more than 80 years ago – in 1935 – two years after the end of Prohibition in the United States. Minnesota is one of only 12 states that still prohibit Sunday sales. Our border states of Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota all allow Sunday sales.

Powerful liquor interests and their lobbying organizations in the state have repeatedly blocked previous legislative proposals to allow Sunday sales in Minnesota. They oppose Sunday sales to protect their own self- interests – not the interests of consumers.

Why Sunday sales?

  • Sunday sales offer convenience for the consumer. 
    Sundays are a convenient and popular shopping day for consumers.  They should be able to make purchases of wine, beer and spirits on Sundays just like they do for other products. Consumers shouldn’t have to drive to Wisconsin, the Dakotas or Iowa to make purchases.
  • Sunday sales encourage competition.
    Minnesota stores located in border communities are at a disadvantage when consumers leave the state to make purchases on Sundays. Allowing Sunday sales will keep Minnesota stores competitive.

Does the ban on Sunday sales impact Minnesota’s tax revenue?

Yes, it is estimated that Minnesota loses more than $10 million in annual tax revenue due to Sunday closings. This revenue is instead filling the tax coffers of Wisconsin and other border states rather than staying in Minnesota.

Do Sunday sales mean stores would be required to open on Sundays?

Absolutely not. Under Sunday sales, Minnesota liquor store owners would have the choice to open on Sundays or not. There is no mandate for them to open.

What do Minnesotans say about Sunday sales?

Public opinion polls show that a majority of Minnesotans support repealing the law that prohibits Sunday sales. A 2014 KSTP/SurveyUSA poll found that 62 percent support legalizing Sunday sales. 

The MN Consumers First Alliance asked the following question – “Generally, do you favor or oppose the concept of allowing liquor stores to sell to consumers on Sundays?”  Among those who shop for beer, wine or spirits a couple of times/month or more, the survey found that 77% support allowing Sunday sales (only 15% do not).

What happened during the 2016 Legislative Session?

In a huge letdown to the majority of consumers across Minnesota who overwhelmingly support Sunday sales, the House of Representatives in May 2016 voted 56-70 against legalizing Sunday sales of wine, beer and spirits in retail stores in Minnesota. 

Thousands of consumers contacted their legislators asking for an end to Minnesota’s outdated prohibition against Sunday sales and for the convenience of purchasing for wine, beer and spirits on Sundays, just like they can for almost all other products on this busy and popular shopping day.

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