Still not easy to get booze

Jackson County residents may be able to legally purchase alcohol on Christmas Day this year for the first time in decades, but that doesn’t mean it will be any easier to find.

Most local alcohol retailers will still be closed Friday for the holiday, including stores such as Walmart and Jay C Food Stores.

A few exceptions are CVS Pharmacy, Circle K and Speedway gas stations, which remain open 24 hours, even on Christmas. Those businesses offer a limited variety of beer and wine, with CVS also carrying hard liquor.

Alcohol sales of any kind in Indiana have long been banned on Christmas Day. But the change in state law that took effect in July allows Hoosiers to buy alcohol at any restaurant, bar, liquor store or grocery store that’s open starting this Christmas Day.

The exception is in years when Christmas falls on a Sunday, as it will next year. However, restaurants and clubs will be allowed to make Sunday sales.

Nancy Brock, who with her husband owns Northside Liquors on North Ewing Street in Seymour, said being able to purchase alcohol on Christmas Day or any major holiday is “unnecessary.”

For her, the issue is one of morals, she said, not about competition or the bottom line.

“I just have a problem with any decision that makes alcohol more readily available than it already is,” said Brock, who also is a strong opponent of Sunday alcohol sales.

Consuming alcohol, she said, is not a problem if it is done responsibly and in a controlled environment.

“It’s upsetting to me that the big-box stores and convenience stores don’t care about morals,” she said. “By being able to buy alcohol on Christmas, you are opening it up to more opportunities for theft and underage drinking.”

In 30-some years of running Northside, Brock has continued to speak out against legislation she said makes alcohol more tempting.

Northside will close early at 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve and will remain closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day, Brock said.

That way, employees can spend the holidays with their families, she said.

“I don’t think there are going to be a lot of people out looking to buy alcohol on Christmas,” she said. “Not even the customers think we need to be open.”

Keith Yazell, who runs Vick’s Liquor Store in Seymour, said he hopes the change in legislature doesn’t mean the state is closer to allowing Sunday sales.

“It is what it is,” he said. “If they can take that day (Christmas) opposed to Sundays, then I don’t see it as being detrimental to our business. It allows the opportunity to be open, so hopefully it’s a trade-off.”

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.