Sunday liquor a mixed bag

Jul 012008
Authors: Sean Reed

Chalk up another day for the Colorado drinking week.

Yesterday, a new state law officially took effect that allows liquor stores to sell their wares on Sundays — something that has not been legal in our state for more than 70 years.

The new law, signed in April by Gov. Bill Ritter, overturned a law that has been on the books since 1933 intended to “protect the Christian Sabbath,” according to the Rocky Mountain News. Whether or not the law succeeded in this aim — more likely not — the law did manage to prevent drinking during another holy Sunday activity for many Coloradans: football.

Because of this silly law, countless men and women state wide were forced to make the unthinkable decision between drinking 3.2 from the grocery store — which, as anybody who has made the choice knows is never pleasant — or to go to the game sober.

For Fort Collins residents, though, there was another option: they could take the not-so-interesting drive to Wyoming, in which Sunday sales were not against the law. For many of my friends, this loophole was the only reason to go to Wyoming, apart from Fourth of July fireworks purchases.

Of course, there was also a way for Coloradans a bit more distant from our neighbor in the north to get around this law — people of age, while not able to buy liquor for consumption in there homes before or after church could still run to the local bar for a pick me up or to watch the game.

Obviously, if the goal of the old law was to prevent people from drinking on Sundays, it failed miserably.

Now, I’m all about having at least one day off from a strenuous drinking regiment per week, but the government should not be in a position to mandate it. Even if they were, a law blocking sales for an entire day needs to be a bit more consistent. And that was the problem with the old law — there were too many gaps.

For that reason, this law was an extremely good call on the part of the Colorado state legislators.

As could be expected, though, there are some downsides to this new policy.

For one, the highly anticipated increase in liquor sales will, naturally, increase the likelihood that people will get drunk on Sundays, which, in turn, could result in increased incidents of crimes related to drunkenness such as DUI and domestic violence. Obviously, this is not a good thing.

In addition, many small business owners who otherwise did not have to work on Sundays may have to sacrifice their previously guaranteed day off to stay competitive. This was the central rallying cry of many family-operated liquor store owners while the bill was still being debated in Congress.

On the flip side of this, however, is the opportunity for these same people to bring in additional revenue that could make their lives easier. So really, for these folks, the new law is a mixed bag.

For better or worse, though, the law passed and, this Sunday, the first Coloradans in three quarters of a century will be patronizing their local liquor stores on the Sabbath.

Drink responsibly Colorado. The folks at the Collegian will be right there with you, I’m sure.

Editorials Editor Sean Reed is a senior political science major. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.