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The Road To WI Is The Road Less Traveled

Today, July 2, the road to Wisconsin will become the road less traveled.

This year, the Minnesota state legislature voted to repeal a Prohibition-era law that banned liquor sales on Sundays. While the vote was met with mixed reactions from the public, it is one I support.

Growing up in Milwaukee, I personally never experienced such a restriction to alcohol sales.

When I moved here, this was an adjustment. There were a number of times one of us would have to make the 45-minute trek to the border to ensure we had enough wine or beer on hand to entertain during the football games. There were a number of times we underestimated our Saturday purchase before the stores closed. And at risk of sounding like a lush, there were a number of times a productive Sunday simply called for a cocktail on the patio as the sun set on the weekend.

I do not think it will contribute to an increase in drunk drivers on the road. You could still purchase alcohol in a restaurant, bar or tavern on Sunday, just not from a store. It all comes down to personal responsibility. However, there are many a liquor store on the border that depends upon Minnesotans’ Sunday purchases and no one can predict how this will affect their business.

Reactions to that argument were clear – let’s keep Minnesotans’ money in Minnesota. When Gov. Dayton signed the bill into law, Minnesota had been only one of 12 states to still ban Sunday liquor sales.

In this Star Tribune article from 2013, I realized Prohibition was the only constitutional amendment to ever be repealed in American history.

During the so-called “dry years” of 1920-1933, even in the land of 10,000 lakes, there were plenty of backyard, backwoods stills. As gangsters like Al Capone dominated the headlines, Minnesotans were quietly setting up private stills and basement speakeasies. In fact, the article discusses quite a few area establishments and homes that still have the secret doors and passages to hide illegal hooch, with some even containing troves of unbroken, antique bottles.

This timeline stands to show a population that the answer may not be to ban something, but instead, reinforce the ideals of knowing one’s limits. It is entirely possible to enjoy alcohol responsibly, to appreciate how it’s made and its history without the negative effects on society. Just a thought …

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