Anyone planning to have a drink on Monday, the day after Christmas, should stock up this Saturday. Liquor stores in Connecticut will be closed on Dec. 26 due to a little-known state law.
Connecticut’s religious-based “blue laws” prevent liquor stores from opening on Sundays but when Christmas falls on a Sunday, Section 30-91d of the Connecticut General Statutes also requires package stores to remain closed the next day, according to a press release from the Department of Consumer Protection. The same will apply the week after when New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday.
“We typically receive many inquiries from liquor retailers, police officers, and the general public about this matter, so I want to ensure that buyers and sellers understand what the law says,”DCP Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said. “…In short, package stores will not be open on Dec. 26 or on Jan. 2.”
While it may be an inconvenience to alcohol consumers, Carroll Hughes, the lobbyist for the Connecticut Package Store Association, said the law makes sense for package store owners.
December is the busiest month of the year for alcohol sales and the week leading up to Christmas is the busiest week, he said. During that week people purchase liquor, not only for consumption but also for holiday gifts. Some store owners find themselves working seven day weeks just to keep the shelves stocked, he said. Sales slow down dramatically after the holiday, he said.
“Almost everyone buys alcohol before Christmas and very few buy after this,” Hughes said. “It’s probably the slowest day of the year.”
But anyone willing to take a drive to nearby Massachusetts will find package stores there open. A recently passed law changed the commonwealth’s statutes so alcohol vendors can sell on Monday. Hughes said he doubts the change will be of much help to the store owners.
“For the life of me I can’t figure out where is that beneficial,” he said.
Though Hughes said owners have no intention of pushing for the right to open this Monday, he said one year they were allowed by a special act to open on two Sundays when Christmas and New Year’s fell on Mondays.
He said he wanted that exception to the Connecticut ban on Sunday alcohol sales become a permanent part of state statute. However talks broke down when proponents of a Sunday sales law started pushing for liquor stores to be open 52 Sundays a year. There are very few Sundays when it actually benefits store owners to open, he said.
“We try to be reasonable but as soon as we start being reasonable, others become unreasonable,” he said.