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Bloomington residents purchase carryout alcohol on Sunday for the first time



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Bottles of alcohol fill a cart inside a Bloomington grocery store. After Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Senate Bill 1 into law Feb. 28, Sunday carryout alcohol sales officially became legal in Indiana. Sofia Hay Buy Photos

At 12:01 p.m. Sunday, the barricade surrounding the liquor section in the Kroger on College Mall Road came down. 

“It’s history!” a worker shouted.

A large sign stood in front of the aisle: “Now Available: Sunday Alcohol Sales From 12 p.m.-8 p.m.”

However, even before noon shoppers disregarded the barrier and began meandering through Kroger’s large liquor section. Some smiled at each other as they walked past, commenting on the obligatory bottles of wine they were buying. 

“Finally,” one customer said.

For the first time, Hoosiers can purchase alcohol on Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. After Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Senate Bill 1 into law Wednesday, Sunday carryout alcohol sales officially became legal in Indiana. In stores across the Bloomington area Sunday, residents stopped in the liquor aisle to purchase a bottle of rosé or a craft beer — even if they didn’t need anything.

Why? Because they could.

Annie MacKenzie, 24, and Tiffany Musser, 24, said they walked past the sign in Kroger as they were grocery shopping and remembered today was the day. They didn’t need anything, but they wanted to walk through the aisles just because they were able to.

“It’s long overdue,” Musser said.

Even though Hoosiers can only purchase alcohol on Sundays from noon to 8 p.m., MacKenzie said it’s still a step in the right direction.

“Baby steps,” she added.

Paul Hamilton, Kroger on College Mall Road assistant store manager, said he doesn’t really understand the noon to 8 p.m. stipulation but he’s glad Indiana is finally allowing some alcohol purchases on Sundays.

“I think we were behind the times a long time ago,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said he doesn’t know how much Sunday alcohol sales will raise sales. He said he thinks sales might go up at first but they’ll probably be back to normal after a few weeks. 

Even within the first few minutes after 12 p.m., Hamilton said he walked past many people with alcohol in their hands.

As a consumer, he said he’s excited to be able to purchase alcohol on Sundays as well.

“I’m going to buy some beer today just to buy some beer,” he said.

Many Hoosiers, Gov. Holcomb included, tweeted about their first Sunday alcohol purchase using the hashtag #SundaySales. Holcomb tweeted a video of his visit to Goose the Market in Indianapolis. He shared his purchase of a six-pack of 3 Floyds Gumballhead.

Other people took pictures holding their alcohol outside of Big Red Liquors or in the aisles of Kroger. Among them was Bernard Fraga, IU political science assistant professor, and his wife Morgan Fraga, who took a selfie in Kroger holding a copy of the Indiana Daily Student with “Cheers!” on the front page and a bottle of red wine each.

The two said they normally go grocery shopping on Sundays but they have to go a different day in the week to buy alcohol. Now that it’s legal on Sundays, it saves them a trip. When he found out about Indiana legalizing alcohol purchases on Sunday, Bernard Fraga said it was about time.

They’re both from Indiana, so Sunday was a big day for them, he said.

“This is the first Sunday alcohol purchase in Indiana in my entire life,” Morgan said.

They purchased two bottles of wine, including one of The Federalist Wines’ Honest Red Blend.

Across the parking lot at Big Red Liquors, people began waiting outside in their cars before noon. Signs outside of Big Red Liquors said the retailer would be now open on Sundays from noon until 7:45 p.m. 

To celebrate the first Sunday of alcohol sales, the Indiana chain offered a 25-percent discount on “Indiana Made” beer, wine and spirits, Sundays only, from March 4 to March 25. 

In a March 1 press release, Big Red Liquors President Don Rix said he felt this is a positive change that was long overdue. He said he applauds the consumer-friendly and forward-thinking work of the legislature this year.

“Big Red Liquors has advocated for Indiana to lift the prohibition on Sunday Sales for the last several years,” he added in the release. “We are thrilled to celebrate responsibly by making sure Indiana made products and Indiana businesses take center stage.” 

Long lines began to form at the Big Red register by 12:30 p.m. Customers were stocking up on their Indiana-made products, such as beverages from Oliver Winery or Cardinal Spirits. 

At Big Red Liquors on North Walnut Street, red, white and blue star-shaped balloons waved outside the doors. Streamers and balloons decorated the inside of the store and upbeat music played. 

As customers in Big Red stood in line, waiting to purchase alcohol for the first time on a Sunday in Indiana, one customer shouted:

“It’s a day to celebrate!”

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