Repealed Blue Laws Strain Liquor Stores

In December, the Gainesville City Commission gave their approval to repeal the blue laws, which limited the sale of alcohol on Sunday both in stores and at bars and restaurants.

For the owners of local bars and restaurants, the repeal meant nothing but good news. The following Sunday, patrons visited local restaurants to wash down brunch with mimosas and Bloody Marys—even if it was 11am.

But liquor stores were a bit less thrilled about the law, which allows liquor sales on Sunday between 7am and 11am—just like every other day of the week. Jeremy Fulmore, regional manager of ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, says he doesn’t expect the change to affect his stores, but rather that existing sales will simply trickle out into the extra day.

“It’s not a boon to our liquor and wine sales,” he says. “The folks who would normally come to our stores on Saturday are realizing they could come and shop on Sunday.”

Repealing the blue laws will only benefit establishments in which customers drink on the premises, he says. “For the off-premise locations, I think it’ll be a slow progression toward people realizing that we’re open.”

Fulmore says in the meantime, the extra day means another day on the clock and another day of operating costs. “We could always sell beer and wine on Sundays after 1pm, but we just chose not to because it just ended up being more of a hassle and a headache.”

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