9 Things Young Hoosiers Will Never Understand Now That Sunday Alcohol Sales Are Legal

With the stroke of a pen, Indiana’s archaic 202-year old ban on Sunday alcohol sales is finally gone, but so are several Hoosier rites of passage that today’s kids will never understand.

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On the last day of February, Governor Eric Holcomb did something that seemed almost unfathomable for lifelong Hoosiers—he signed a bill that legalized Sunday alcohol sales in Indiana. The archaic law has long been a thorn in the side of residents wanting to pick up a bottle of wine during a Sunday grocery run or those in need of an extra six-pack during a Colts game, not to mention a headache to explain to out-of-state relatives and friends who were baffled by concept. While several states still ban Sunday packaged liquor sales, up until Wednesday, Indiana was the only state to ban packaged liquor, beer, and wine sales on Sundays.

But starting this Sunday at noon, the tradition that has existed since Indiana’s statehood ends. And even if the new law isn’t perfect (sales only run noon through 8 p.m. on Sundays, and you still can’t buy cold beer at the grocery store), it sparks a new era in our state. Today’s kids will just never understand the concept of:

Making sure you had ALL the booze you needed before the Indianapolis 500
Those cans of beer you were planning to lug to the Speedway? You’d better have bought them on Saturday, or else you were stuck paying inflated track prices. There were no exceptions for the Sunday rule, not even Indiana’s most famous holiday. (In 2016, then-Governor Mike Pence signed a bill permitting Fuzzy’s Vodka to sell special commemorative bottles during the 100th running of the race, but you weren’t allowed to drink from the glass bottle at the track.)

And likewise, running out of beer during your Super Bowl party
Or your Oscar party. Or that random Sunday-night party you threw in college even though you had midterms in the morning. Any good Hoosier knew to think ahead, but hey, sometimes you just miscalculated how much your friends were going to drink.

Driving across the nearest border when the booze run just couldn’t wait
From Indianapolis, it takes an hour and a half, minimum, to reach one of the state borders, but for friends in Hammond or New Albany, it was just a skip and a hop to states with legal Sunday sales. Governor Holcomb even joked about this while signing the law, saying, “There is absolutely no need, any longer, to make a run for the border.”

Nonchalantly taking a bottle of merlot to the register at Kroger on a Sunday afternoon, only to be denied by the cashier and forced to shamefully explain that, no really, you’ve lived here your whole life, you know the law, you just … forgot. Or you needed it for “cooking.”
We’ve all been there.

Showing your cousin from Chicago a roped-off aisle at Target
“Seriously, this is what we do here.”

Getting to know your local breweries, wineries, and distilleries really well
Despite what non-Hoosiers might have thought, “no alcohol sales on Sunday” didn’t mean that you couldn’t buy any alcohol on Sunday. Restaurants and bars have been able to sell drinks on Sundays since the 1970s. But even if you wanted to enjoy a drink from the comfort of your own couch, you weren’t entirely out of options. Starting in 2010, you could get a growler fill from a local breweries, and in 2016, you could officially grab a bottle of vodka or gin to-go, provided you were picking it up from a local distillery.

The (very) mild annoyance of turning 21 on a Sunday
Truly, this wasn’t that bad. Even if you did turn 21 on a Sunday, you could still buy alcohol from midnight until 3 a.m. that morning, and you could still get into any bar where you wanted to proudly flash your newly legal ID. You just couldn’t stroll into Big Red at 3 p.m. that afternoon, but you’d still whine to your friends about the irony of the whole thing. A lot.

The unexpected joy of another state’s law
How thrilling was it when you visited your grandmother in Florida, knowing you could buy a bottle of wine for Sunday dinner with no problems? Of course, those who leave Indiana quickly learn that as annoying as the Sunday sales ban was, our other alcohol laws are pretty relaxed. We can buy liquor at the grocery store—not so in many other states—and a 3 a.m. cut-off is pretty generous.

Laughing at one of Indiana’s longest-running jokes
Deep down, as goofy and archaic as the law often felt, it was our little quirk. We poked fun at it. We shared stories of how we outsmarted it (and how it outsmarted us). It’s a little sad to say goodbye, but at the same time, cheers to an outdated relic. We’ll soon talk about this law the way we talk about cassette tapes, landline phones, and dial-up.

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