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Malloy Proposes Overhaul of State's Liquor Laws

The governor calls for a change to the state's "out of date" Sunday and holiday restrictions.

 

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced a package of policies Saturday in Enfield that he said would make Connecticut competitive with surrounding states when it comes to the sale of alcohol.

The announcement, made Saturday afternoon at Enfield Town Hall, represents a change in direction for the entire state, Malloy said.

"Today, I take a step forward in making Connecticut competitive with surrounding states and, at the same time, moving in the direction of being pro-consumer," he the governor said.

At the heart of Malloy's proposal, which still must be passed by the state legislature, is the sale of alcohol on Sundays, certain holidays and on Mondays that come after Sunday holidays.

Allowing Sunday and holiday sales is meant to increase sales at stores in towns that border Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York — sales that represent an estimated $570 million in lost revenue, Malloy said.

The package includes a number of measures in addition to legalizing Sunday and holiday sales, which border-town shops have rquested for decades, but many shops located in central Connecticut have resisted.

"To the owners of shops [that haven't felt the competition], I say that 'We're working with you,'" said Malloy.

"We're going to allow you to sell other items, and we're going to create a marketplace."

Connecticut is currently one of two states in the nation that does not allow the sale of alcohol outside of restaurants and bars.

Specifics of what Malloy's office was touting as "modernizing Connecticut's liquor laws" include:

  • The creation of a statewide "medallion" system (in addition to standard package store licenses), which will be given to all current package store owners to reflect their right to expanded business options.
  • Package and grocery stores will be allowed to sell alcohol until 10 p.m. if they choose to do so.
  • Restaurants and bars can stay open and serve alcohol until 2 a.m. (subject to local ordinances).
  • Some small convenience stores will be given the option of selling beer.
  • Package stores will be allowed to sell goods in addition to alcohol, including snack food, cheese, crackers, chips and other items thought to be "complementary" to alcohol consumption.
  • Price posting, minimum bottle and quantity discount laws will be eliminated.
  • Grocery stores will be allowed to operate separate package stores.
  • One person or LLC will be able to operate more than two package stores through the purchase of a medallion.
William Brighenti, CPA January 16, 2012 at 06:43 PM
About time. Should have been done years ago.
Ed Thereault January 16, 2012 at 06:49 PM
I am against this, alcohol sales will not really increase, they will be spread over more hours, making small business owners shoulder the burden of increased overhead to compete with big box retailers. This bill is aimed at helping grocery stores and other corporate run outlets. Our local package store is not going to see an increase in sales but will be forced to stay open later and on holidays to compete. Another way our "leadership" is bending to big business.
Thomas Johnson January 17, 2012 at 12:35 AM
These blue laws are nothing more than the waning influence of religious zealots. This is the ONLY reason that these onerous laws were implemented in the first place!
John Q. Public January 17, 2012 at 12:47 AM
These laws no longer have anything to do with religion. The package store owners have very effectively preserved excessive state regulations that serve no purpose except to protect them. Short hours, minimum pricing, Sunday closings all exist solely for the benefit of the package store owners. Funny how small business wants small government, except when it comes to protecting the profitability of their otherwise unprofitable businesses.
Keep the river front for all of us January 23, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Does Gov. Dondon really thing people go over the line to Mass. because they can purchase liquor on SUNDAYS??? They go there because it is much CHEAPER because of lower taxes.............Opening package stores in Ct. on Sundays, is NOT GOING TO STOP THAT PILGRIMAGE.

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