After a year, are Sunday liquor sales helping or hurting businesses?

Beverage association exec says the results what they expected

Dan Cook
July 23, 2018 - 1:16 pm

We’ve now got a year’s worth of data on Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota, so how are things going? About how the beverage associations expected according to Paul Kaspszak, Executive Director of the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association.

“Things are playing out exactly as they said they would,” Kaspszak told John Hines, “We never ever said that the sky was going to fall and the world was going to end if Sunday sales came. But overall in talking about a statewide perspective, that’s exactly what’s happened, is that we’re spreading out six days of sales over seven days of expenses. And people are surviving, but they’re not thriving in that kind of environment.”

Consumers seem to find it advantageous to be able to pick up their favorite adult beverage on Sundays, but it’s not as simple as adding a day’s worth of sales to the previously existing six-day schedule.

“It is convenient for customers and they’re really happy that they’re providing that service to their customers, but sales aren’t shifting,” said Kaspszak, “For example when you used to go to that liquor store on Saturday, it’s likely that you actually spent more than you would on that Sunday. What people used to do, for example, is that they used to stock up on Saturday and spend a little more, knowing that they weren’t going to be able to go to the liquor store on Sunday to carry them over. Now they’re buying less on Saturday and not necessarily as much on Sunday.”

There are areas of the state in which Sunday sales are benefitting businesses as well as consumers, however.

“There are certain pockets that are doing very well with it in some unexpected places,” Kaspszak told Hines, “For example, the city-owned operation in Brooklyn Center is one that is actually surprising to me, is actually thriving in this. And you may say why, what’s so special about Brooklyn Center? Well, Brooklyn Center has a high Hispanic population and it’s my understanding that that culture, their big day of celebration is on Sunday. So what they’re doing is going to the liquor store and buying the beer, but they’re also supplementing with tequila and a lot of other things for that day of celebration. So you’re going to get pockets where people are going to be doing really, really well.”

Ultimately, individual operations are deciding whether being open on Sunday is beneficial to them.

“As you travel the state, you’re still going to find both private and municipal operations that aren’t open on Sunday,” Kaspszak said, “that don’t find it, you know, economically feasible to do that.”

Listen to the entire interview here: