Local breweries talk about how Indiana Sunday sales will affect them

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Published: March 3, 2018

BY: Shannon Hall, Journal & Courier

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — At noon on Sunday, people may storm down the doors at liquor stores and grocery stores to buy alcohol.

Sunday marks the first time since the 1930s that people can grab a pack of beer or bottle of wine or liquor from liquor or grocery stores on a Sunday in Indiana.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed the bill Wednesday that would allow Sunday sales from noon to 8 p.m.

But before Sunday, there were only a few places people in Indiana could go and grab beer to-go — breweries.

The Indiana Legislature allowed breweries to sell their beer on Sundays starting in 2010.

Dustin Grove, co-owner of Brokerage Brewery, said he’s not too worried.

Brokerage opened in mid-December and since then, they’ve had a strong following for the Sunday beer crowd, he said.

More: Everything you need to know about Indiana’s alcohol laws

“We have a lot of faith in our product,” Grove said. “We’re not too concerned.”

But no one’s certain how it will all play out, said Jim Boros, co-owner of the Crawfordsville Backstep Brewing Company.

“I think it’s going to put a dent in our Sunday growler sales,” he said.

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He said breweries were the only kids on the block when it came to to-go alcohol sales. In Crawfordsville, they’re the only brewery within at least 20 miles.

“It shot breweries in the arm,” he said.

Backstep Brewing Company began selling its own beer in November, so it’s only been selling growlers for the past few months.

For Backstep Brewing Company, the brewery is the only place that sells their beer, so if people want it they’ll still have to come to them, Boros said.

“And it’s a different style than what the big box stores offer,” he said. “With the (Sunday) Prohibition ending, as a consumer I’m happy. As a brewery owner, I wish we had more time.”

People’s Brewing Company has had time to be one of the few places people can take to-go beer, though.

A typical Sunday customer would come in, grab a pint, sit and chat for a bit before grabbing a growler to go, said Chris Johnson, owner of People’s Brewing Company.

“What we’ve developed is more of an experience,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll lose that crowd.”

A small percentage of People’s Sunday’s patronage came in just because they were one of the only places to get beer to go.

“We probably won’t see those people as much,” Johnson said.

But because People’s beer is sold in liquor stores and grocery stores, he think their sales will go up there.

But overall, Johnson’s not too worried about the Sunday sales affecting his brewery.

“We’ll see.”

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