It's not quite as momentous as the end of Prohibition, but Connecticut now has its own Repeal Day, as Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill Monday to end our state's archaic Blue Laws. And on American Craft Beer week, too. Way to go, Guv'na. Connecticut liquor stores will now be allowed to operate from 10a.m. - 5p.m. on Sundays, and choose one item per month to offer at a 10% discount. This last item was the lone concession to proponents of blue law repeal who sought the end of the state's mandatory minimum pricing practices. Discounts had previously been outlawed.
Like most of the other measures signed into law by Gov. Malloy, this decision came down to the economic bottom line.
“Our current laws have cost Connecticut businesses millions of dollars as consumers have flocked over our borders in search of more convenient hours and lower prices," Malloy said in a statement soon after the Legislature approved the bill. "Like many other initiatives I’ve put forward since taking office, this bill has a simple focus: making Connecticut competitive once again.
endctbluelaws.org, a grassroots movement made up of the state's Beer Wholesaler Association and Food Association, along with national distilled spirits interests and other parties, estimates that ending the Sunday ban will lead to four to eight percent growth in sales in Connecticut, a $6.4 to $11.2 million dollar increase in money spent in-state.
No longer will an unexpectedly zealous Saturday night force us to brave the headlong fall of a Sunday morning without benefit of a mimosa's golden parachute. We have arrived at the end of those dark days when the tyranny of outdated laws decide the success or failure an afternoon NFL party. Verily I say to thee: we have been freed from the cruel japes of the other 48 states, and can instead join them in their mockery of Indiana, the 18th century's last holdout.
Many area wine and liquor shops welcome the repeal.
"We both think it's a welcome change. The law is antiquated so any opportunity to do more business is welcome," said Mimi McLaughlin of Saugatuck Grain & Grape. "On the other hand, from a selfish perspective, I'm sad to give up my one day. It's very difficult to be the small store owner and work 7 days."
This will no doubt be a crushing blow to that one Cumberland Farms three and a half feet over the border in Port Chester off exit 2, but, as Byron said "They never fail, who die in a great cause."
And I'll still go to the Port Chester beer distributor on the odd Sunday, anyway: their selection is fantastic.