During a hearing today before the Ohio House Commerce and Labor Committee, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) submitted testimony in support of HB 674, which would allow Sunday sales of distilled spirits products on a statewide basis rather than by local option.
The testimony, submitted by DISCUS Vice President of State Government Relations David Wojnar, underscored that states across the country have modernized their marketplace regarding alcohol sales laws.
Today, 43 states permit Sunday sales of distilled spirits. Since 2002, 21 states have passed laws permitting Sunday sales including Ohio’s neighboring states of Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia. In 2019 alone, Virginia and West Virginia both enacted legislation to permit alcohol sales or expand Sunday hours of sale on a statewide basis.
“HB 674 would simplify Ohio’s law regarding Sunday sales and provide uniformity to retailers by doing away with the current patchwork of allowed hours of sale,” Wojnar stated in his testimony. “Expanding Sunday sales also provides today’s consumers with the convenience they want. Families do most of their shopping on the weekend and expanding the sale of spirits, beer and wine on Sunday gives adult consumers more choices and added convenience.”
The testimony also highlighted the benefits for Ohio state and local treasuries if Sunday sales were expanded noting that the change would translate into significant new state revenues from distilled spirits as well as an increase in sales for retailers.
“States that have implemented Sunday sales have seen an immediate boost to state tax revenues,” Wojnar said. “For example, Pennsylvania’s sales went up 10 percent since Sunday sales went into effect and the former chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board called Sunday sales a ‘grand slam home run.’ Oregon sales increased between 9.2 and 19.6 percent, and Delaware saw a 7 and 10 percent increase in sales after enacting Sunday sales.”
Ohio allowed the sale of spirits on Sundays by local option in June 2004. Before this, Ohio consumers were only allowed to buy beer and wine on Sundays.