JEFFERSON CITY — Thirsty Missourians will be able to buy beer, wine and liquor earlier in the morning on Sundays as part of a revamp of state liquor laws going into effect next week.
Under a new law approved by the legislature in the spring, businesses can sell booze beginning at 6 a.m. on Sundays until 1:30 a.m., aligning the day with the hours in place for sales during the rest of week.
Currently, alcohol sales at bars, grocery stores and other businesses cannot start until after 9 a.m. on Sundays and must stop at midnight.
The change goes into effect next Saturday.
“Missouri’s old Sunday sales law created confusion and inconvenience for consumers and limited sales for retailers,” said Sen. Justin Brown, R-Rolla, who sponsored the change. “Senate Bill 126 removes the inconsistency in the law and makes every day the same as the next when it comes to liquor sales.”
Missouri was among a number of states that had so-called blue laws still on the books. The term is typically used to define restrictions on certain activities on Sundays.
Andy Fechtel, sales manager and brand specialist for Fechtel Beverage, a Jefferson City beer distributor, said the new hours could prove popular in the state’s tourist areas, where people go to enjoy themselves.
In particular, he said, someone who goes fishing early on a Sunday would be able to stop on the way to pick up some beer for their cooler rather than having to pre-plan the purchase the day before.
“It’s always prudent to review our liquor laws,” said Fechtel, who testified in favor of the legislation when it was moving through the House and Senate earlier this year.
During debate on the floor, lawmakers who backed the change said tailgaters at Kansas City Chiefs football games that kick off at noon also could benefit.
The change in hours was part of a revamp of state liquor laws that includes provisions allowing Missouri restaurateurs to sell take-home cocktails on a permanent basis.
The legislation extends a temporary change in state liquor laws put in place last year to help restaurants weather a significant slow-down in business due to the pandemic.
With restaurants doing much of their business on a takeout basis, drinks to-go became an option at a range of establishments.