Sunday Liquor Sales in Minnesota

April 3, 2017  |  Scott M. Lepak

As a Wisconsin to Minnesota transplant over 30 years ago, I am periodically reminded of how unique Wisconsin and its citizens really are when viewed from outside its borders.  One of my law partners recently told me her Scottish husband was in Louisiana, and a local there, on hearing his accent, asked if he was from Wisconsin.
Yesterday my mom and dad were eating lunch in the grocery store deli area in Wausau Wisconsin when a group of school kids arrived with their teachers.  Obviously a field trip, the teachers ushered the kids toward the fruit section to explain the different fruits and vegetables.  In the course of the discussion it was apparent that the kids were drifting off to look at the fresh donut section.  After lunch, my mom went back to the car and was waiting for my dad to finish up shopping.  She saw him laughing to himself when he was walking across the parking lot.  When he got back to the car, she asked him what was so funny.  He said the kids were now heading toward the cold beer display and wondered if the liquor store was part of the tour.  My parents decided that the kids must go grocery shopping with their dad.
Minnesota may never quite become Wisconsin (thank goodness for that according to both states) but it recently took a baby step toward relaxing its liquor laws to allow Sunday sales.
Effective July 1, 2017 liquor stores in Minnesota may be open on Sundays from 11 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.  While wholesalers cannot deliver alcohol to these stores on Sunday or order solicitation or merchandise, this will likely have little effect on the consumer.  Liquor stores will still be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas and after 8:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve.  No opening on Sundays before July 1 or you will get in big trouble (Uff da)!
Liquor stores may choose to not be open on Sundays.  In addition local authorities may impose further restrictions on the sale of alcohol within its limits – including the hours of sale.  The tip of the day – don’t rely on stopping by the liquor store to pick up some Mogen David on your way to grandma’s house for Easter dinner just yet.  Your city may still have something to say about it.
Scott Lepak is a shareholder and practices in the municipal, labor and employment areas.  In moving to Minnesota to attend law school in 1984, Scott was dismayed to discover that he needed to pre-plan buying beer as a gift to go to a friend’s house that had the Packer game on tv.  Bringing a bag of potato chips and a six pack of pop (soda) started Scott’s reputation for frugality that unjustly continues over three decades later.