Let Minnesotans purchase liquor later

Arguments to close liquor stores early lack merit.

A Minnesota Senate bill that would allow liquor stores to sell alcoholic beverages until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday recently passed the Commerce Subcommittee on Liquor. The Legislature should pass it.

Arguments to close liquor stores early lack merit. There is no critical difference between patrons purchasing alcohol before 8 p.m. and those wishing to purchase it after 8 p.m.; in both cases, buyers bring the liquor back to their homes or their friends’ parties. Drinking with friends at private parties can be safer than drinking at bars.

Given that legislators passed a law allowing bars to serve alcohol until 2 a.m., allowing liquor stores to stay open later seems a natural step – and 10 p.m. is still too early for bar crowds to leave to go find more booze. Liquor store patrons shopping between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. might just as well be shopping for wine with which to cook as beer to complement watching Sunday’s game.

Additionally, being able to buy alcohol later at night would allow some regular bar patrons – who would otherwise drive home intoxicated – to drink at home more safely.

Many University students appreciate that buying alcohol in liquor stores is cheaper than doing so in bars. Passing this bill is a grand opportunity for legislators to acknowledge their college constituency.

In countries around the world, notably Australia and many in Europe, alcohol can be purchased at any time, on any day at the discretion of the establishments selling it. In these countries, alcohol is part of their cultures and not regarded with the Puritan distain it garners in the United States.

More than 15 million Americans are dependent on alcohol, but availability has nothing to do with addiction. Alcoholics are still alcoholics after 8 p.m. and on Sundays. There are simply no solid reasons to deny liquor stores the ability to continue doing business after 8 p.m.