The Real Reason Some States Don't Sell Alcohol On Sundays

Depending on where you live in the United States, you may just have to forgo purchasing wine, beer, or any alcoholic beverage on a Sunday. Generally known as "blue laws," their purpose is to restrict certain activities on certain days (mostly Sunday), and as of 2019, 28 states still have some form of these laws on the books (via World Population Review). However, not all blue laws involve the sale of alcohol on Sundays — sometimes they prohibit hunting or selling cars.  

There are far more people, though, interested in buying a bottle of wine from their local liquor store on Sunday than hunting deer or purchasing a new car. So what's up with these blue laws and booze? Where did they come from, and is there a chance they are on the way out for good?

Where did blue laws come from?

To give you a quick history of blue laws, they were around way before the U.S. prohibited the sale of alcohol in 1920 and likely came about in colonial times (via Encyclopedia Britannica). Puritans prohibited certain activities on the Sabbath and while the United States has loosened up on the Puritan's no-sports policy — the NFL would otherwise be doomed — laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol have stuck around. 

As for the blue laws that forbid the selling of alcohol, well, those really depend on a particular state's laws governing the sale of alcohol — an exception being the federally mandated age of 21 to purchase alcohol. The blue laws on the books today can also get pretty odd, and keep in mind that what applies in Massachusetts isn't going to be remotely the same as the laws found in Utah. 

For example, in Massachusetts, bars are prohibited from promoting happy hours on Sundays, and an out-of-state ID might not be good enough to prove you can legally drink (via Insider). Restaurants in South Carolina have to get a special permit to sell alcohol on Sundays, and roughly half the counties in Alabama don't allow a single drop of alcohol to be sold on Sundays (via State Liquor Laws). 

Are blue laws going away?

For the most part, yes, blue laws do seem to be slowly fading away with more states rolling back restrictions every few years. Tennessee, for example, finally began to allow stores to sell wine on Sundays in 2018 with the realization that Sunday was "the biggest shopping day of the week." (via The Tennessean). Texas is also trying to loosen up on some of its blue laws pertaining to alcohol sales (via KHOU). 

Until the state or county that you live in kicks its blue laws to the curb, though, you might want to consider this life hack — just buy your beer on Saturday.