Shops to Take Advantage of Sunday Alcohol Sales
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 02:02
Liquor stores in Washington, D.C., have begun to apply for permits to sell alcohol seven days a week after new legislation was passed striking down the city’s prohibition of alcohol sales on Sundays.
The D.C. Council passed the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Emergency Amendment Act Dec. 18, 2012, repealing the city’s blue laws that prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sundays.
The Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration began accepting applications Jan. 16 from stores wishing to expand their hours. According to the application form, liquor stores would be permitted to sell and deliver alcohol between 7 a.m. and midnight on Sundays.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E Representative Bill Starrels, whose territory includes part of Georgetown, said he was consulted as the bill was being developed. According to Starrels, the lift on the Sunday ban was part of a more comprehensive update to the Alcoholic Beverage Control’s rules. He expressed his support for the revised law.
“The bottom line is, everybody thought it was not a bad idea,” Starrels said. “Hopefully [this] means more money for the city,” he added. “If people want to drink on Sundays they can drink on Sundays.”
Applications are currently being accepted by the ABRA on a first come, first served basis. As of last week, 59 liquor stores have applied. The retailers vary in size and location, with large national retailers like Costco as well as local Georgetown stores such as Wagner’s Liquor and Dixie Liquor among those that have submitted applications.
Russ Banaray, owner of Wagner’s Liquor at 1717 Wisconsin Ave. NW, sees the expanded hours as an opportunity to increase revenue.
“Sometimes [Georgetown students] do ask if we’re open on Sundays,” he said. “We don’t know, but we’re hoping it’ll help our business. … Everybody else will be open Sunday probably. If we don’t stay open we’ll probably lose our revenue and customers to other stores.”
Banaray said that he expects Wagner’s to start Sunday alcohol sales this summer.
Sean Clark, managing partner of Dixie Liquor at 3429 M St. NW, said that he expects a smooth transition to Sunday service and anticipates the store will adopt its new hours by the end of February.
“We don’t have any violations so we’re certain we’re going to get [the permit],” he said.
Clark, however, does not anticipate that the expanded hours will significantly increase profits.
“We have to be open because if any of our competitors are open we have to do the same,” he said. “It’ll probably be a ghost town on Sundays because everybody stocks up on Saturdays and sleeps it off on Sundays, frankly. It’ll probably just make us work more hours, but we can’t take the chance that one of those guys up the road will be open.”
Both he and Banaray said that their stores’ Sunday hours will be shortened compared to their hours the rest of the week.
Towne Wine & Liquors on 1326 Wisconsin Ave. NW did not respond to requests for comment.
The District joins 37 states nationwide in allowing liquor sales on Sunday.