New state law allows liquor stores to stay open later

As of July 1, liquor stores in Connecticut may remain open an extra hour Monday through Saturday, thanks to Section 82 of biennial budget bill Public Act No. 15-244.

While Sunday hours remain from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the new law allows businesses operating under the following permits to sell or dispense alcoholic beverages from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. the other days of the week:

  • Package store permits.

  • Drug store permits.

  • Manufacturer permits for beer.

  • Manufacturer permits for beer and brew pubs or grocery store beer permits.

Due to a town ordinance, however, this new law won’t affect Wilton stores.
After Prohibition was repealed in the 1930s, Wilton voted to remain a “dry” town, and it wasn’t until 1992 that the town passed a law permitting the sale of alcohol in restaurants.
In 2010, the town approved licenses for package stores in Wilton and set an ordinance that they could not sell alcohol past 8 p.m.
“When Wilton allowed liquor stores in town five years ago, they said you can do 8 p.m. in Wilton, but no Sunday sales,” Wilton Wine Shoppe manager Tom Prackup told The Bulletin.
“After a year-and-a-half of that, we lobbied for Sunday hours because we saw sales slipping,” he said. “Our customers were needing things on Sundays and they were going elsewhere, so we appealed to the town about Sunday sales.”
In 2013, the town allowed Sunday sales, “but they didn’t stipulate hours like they did when they first allowed liquor stores,” said Prackup. “We were open 10 to 5 on Sundays, and then we chose to do 12 to 5.”
Instead of extending its Monday-Saturday hours as other Connecticut towns are now able to do, the Wilton Wine Shoppe decided to extend its Sunday hours to 6 p.m. as of July 1.
Even if the town ordinance wasn’t in place, Prackup said, “We think 8 p.m. is adequate because we do see that the town gets quiet after 8, and there hasn’t been a big demand from customers that we stay open past that.”

Other changes

Public Act 15-244 also extends the hours for the following permit-holders:

  • Farm wineries: Permittees holding a manufacturer permit for a farm winery can now sell and offer free wine samples until 10 p.m. all seven days of the week.

  • Golf tournament: The sale, dispensing, consumption and presence of alcohol in glasses or “other receptacles suitable to permit consumption” is now permissible in places operating under a nonprofit golf tournament permit from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., any day of the week.

  • Farmers’ markets: Farmers’ market wine sales permit-holders can now sell wine at a farmers’ market any day from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., as long as they do not sell it at a farmers’ market “at any time during such hours that the farmers’ market is not open to the public.”

Under the law, a town may reduce any of these permissible hours either by town meeting vote or ordinance.
Click here  to view Public Act No. 15-244.