I see a press release from the TPSA (and that's not the Technology Service Professionals Association, or The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance, or Telekomunikacja Polska SA; in this case it's the Texas Package Store Association, the lobbying arm of Texas liquor store owners) today in a clipping service I subscribe to (it's funny; go to TPSA's website, (this link has been taken off the TPSA website, and they don't appear to have a copy of their own press release on their site...) and you'll see the press release quoted as "the full article featured in Mark Brown's Industry News Update"; guys, you sent in the press release, and it's a clipping service, so that's not a featured article).
Sorry about that huge sentence; I had a lot to say. The release is calling DISCUS out for their claims for the advent of Sunday sales in Colorado liquor stores. DISCUS, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., is the industry group for American distillers and spirits marketers, and they've been doing a lot of work, successfully, on prying the dead hand of 'blue laws' off American spirits sales. They're claiming that an increase of $2 million in booze tax revenues in Colorado is related to that state allowing Sunday sales at liquor stores.
The TPSA is saying that it's just not so, and gives several responses: it's not really spirits taxes, they can't say that it's due to Sunday sales, taxes are actually down, taxes overall are up, it's up less than DISCUS said it would be...they really loaded up the blunderbuss and let fly with everything they had.
I'm not here to comment on whether DISCUS is right or not.* I'd just like to look at why the TPSA is so dead-set against what would appear to be something they'd want; the ability to open on Sundays, to get out from under a law that requires them to close their stores one day a week. Would Target be in favor of such a law? Would supermarkets or convenience stores? Gas stations, restaurants, shopping malls: would any business be in favor of such a law? Hard to believe, but liquor stores are. At least, some of them, and not just in Texas.
What's up with that? Well, folks, it's because liquor stores get to be closed for a day -- no expenses, no employees to pay, none of those annoying customers to worry about -- without having to worry about their competitors being open and doing the business they could, because all liquor stores are required to be closed. Whew. Lock it up, let's go fishing (but first, let's buy sammiches at the Acme store, gas up at Wawa, and pick up some new lures at Bass Pro; they're all open on Sunday).
They'll wrap it up in "think of the children" bullshit, like they're somehow doing God's work by not making alcohol more available (and then usually turn around and also say that being open an extra day makes no difference in sales; not long on logic, these groups, they depend more on firing out everything they can think of regardless of how internally contradictory it may be). That's when they really make me nuts: if you're doing such a wonderful thing by making alcohol less available, why don't you just close your damned store and do the community a real service?
Sunday sale restrictions, control state rules, the case law, ABV beer caps, even licensing laws are all anti-consumer laws. They are either about money, or paternalistic state control. I'd like to put them all in one big pile and dynamite them to hell.
*DISCUS chief economist David Ozgo challenged their math: "The TPSA should get a new economist. Purposefully or not, TPSA looked at a single month of liquor sales in July 2008 and compared it to a different single month - August 2009 - and subtracted the difference. They conveniently failed to take into account the effect from a full year of sales." From Wine & Spirits Daily