Alcohol Sales in Indiana and New Liquor Legislation

A photo of Indiana skyline
Alcohol sales in Indiana have been impacted by new liquor lesgislation passed as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn what this means for you as an alcohol supplier, bar or restaurant.

Alcohol sales in the United States are regulated by state governments, which means that alcohol sales in Indiana are governed by laws that can be very different from the next state over. For example, Ohio, Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, all handle distribution, sales, and taxation differently. In addition, most state regulations have undergone some major changes as a result of COVID-19. Indiana is one of the many states that has moved to relax certain restrictions in order to promote sales and help support bars and restaurants. Keep reading to learn more about how alcohol sales in Indiana have been impacted by the new liquor legislation.  

COVID-19 and Indiana’s Alcohol Policies

In response to COVID-19, Governor Eric Holcomb relaxed policies around ordering alcoholic drinks with takeout orders. Restaurants that were only allowed to sell alcohol to be consumed on-premise, were permitted to sell carryout drinks. These new regulations were designed to provide some relief to bars and restaurants that were struggling to survive. As of April 29, 2021, these temporary provisions were made permanent according to HB 1396. Moving forward, businesses will be able to sell carryout alcoholic beverages for the foreseeable future. 

Indiana is just one state that has made the move to loosen restrictions on alcohol sales. While these provisions are temporary in some places, the Indiana government has voted to make these changes permanent. As a result, consumers will be able to order alcoholic drinks to go with their meals. This is good news for businesses that are working hard to recover from the effects of the pandemic. 

Can You Buy Alcohol in Indiana on Sunday?

In many states, alcohol sales are limited on Sundays. These restrictions tend to be a remnant of Prohibition and “blue laws,” which were largely supported by religious groups who wanted to preserve Sunday as a day of worship. Other anti-alcohol groups also wanted to avoid providing consumers with an additional opportunity to purchase alcohol. 

While it may seem counterintuitive, liquor stores were also proponents of the ban. Sunday is the second busiest grocery shopping day of the week, which means that allowing alcohol sales on Sunday would allow consumers to stock up on beer, wine, and spirits at the local grocery store rather than the liquor store. Despite these objections to selling alcohol on Sundays, as of March 4, 2018, Indiana residents were allowed to purchase alcohol on Sundays.

When and Where You Can Buy Alcohol in Indiana

According to state law, alcohol can be sold between 7 a.m. and 3 a.m. throughout the week. However, alcohol sales at liquor, grocery, and convenience stores are limited from noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Indiana, along with 25 other states, allow alcohol to be sold at grocery stores. 

Prior to 2010, alcohol sales were banned on election day. Historians speculate that this rule had ties to the tradition of taverns being used as public gathering spaces and polling stations. Today, Hoosiers are permitted to enjoy a drink and vote on the same day.

Indiana also allows people to drink alcohol in public places. Bar and restaurant patrons legally can take their drinks with them when they leave the premises although individual establishments may have restrictions on this practice. Those taking a cab ride or paying for a ride are also permitted to drink in the vehicle. Otherwise, open containers in vehicles are prohibited. 

The state does have bans on the popular practice of “happy hour.” While bars and restaurants are allowed to offer drink specials, they are prohibited from selling alcohol at reduced prices during a certain period of the day. Businesses argue that this practice helps boost sales during slow times, but opponents fear that it promotes binge drinking. 

Alcohol Taxes in Indiana

Indiana has a state excise tax. Consumers pay $2.68 per gallon, $6.37 per 9 L cs, and $0.53 per 750ml bottle. 

FAQs

Can you buy alcohol in Indiana on Sunday? 

Yes, retailers, including grocery stores, convenience stores, and liquor stores, are permitted to sell alcohol on Sundays.

What is the earliest you can buy alcohol in Indiana? 

Restaurants can sell alcohol from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stores have one restriction regarding when they can sell alcohol; they can only sell alcohol from noon to 8 p.m.

Can you buy alcohol on election day in Indiana? 

Yes. In 2010, the state allowed residents to purchase alcohol on election day. 

Can you buy liquor in grocery stores in Indiana? 

Yes. Indiana and 25 other states allow residents to purchase alcohol in grocery stores. 

Does Indiana sell alcohol in gas stations? 

Yes, gas stations and convenience stores can sell alcohol.

Can a passenger have an open container in Indiana?

If a passenger is paying for their ride or consuming alcohol in the living area of a RV, they can consume alcohol.

Is it legal to have a happy hour in Indiana? 

No, Indiana allows all-day drink specials, but they have a ban on happy hour.

How did COVID-19 affect Indiana’s alcohol policies? 

Indiana decided to allow bars and restaurants to sell carryout drinks. This was designed to help with sales so that businesses could survive the pandemic. Eventually, the state decided to make these temporary changes permanent and the new law went into effect July 1st, 2021.  

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