Aldermen clear way for more early Sunday morning beer, wine and liquor sales

Stores with 5,000 square feet would now be able to start selling beer, wine and hard liquor at 8 a.m.

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Beer on sale in a grocery-store cooler.

Chicago city code currently limits early-morning beer, wine and hard liquor sales to supermarkets with at least 10,000 square feet of space. Smaller stores have to wait until 11 a.m. Sundays to start selling booze.

Sun-Times file

Bears fans will soon have an easier time buying beer and booze in preparation for tailgating or watching Sunday games at home with family and friends.

At the behest of rookie Ald. Matt Martin (47th), the City Council’s the Committee on License and Consumer Protection on Tuesday approved an ordinance that would open the door for roughly 75 more Chicago supermarkets to start selling liquor at 8 a.m. Sundays.

Currently, city code limits early-morning beer, wine and hard liquor sales to supermarkets with at least 10,000 square feet of space. Smaller stores have to wait until 11 a.m. Sundays to start selling booze.

The new ordinance cuts that requirement in half. Stores with 5,000 square feet will now be able to start selling beer, wine and hard liquor at 8 a.m. That’ll make it easier for tailgating and party-throwing Bears fans as well as those preparing Sunday brunch that includes an occasional bloody mary or martini.

“We had a small business owner reach out and say that she was at a competitive disadvantage relative to some nearby larger grocery stores, particularly about her inability to sell alcohol between 8 and 11 a.m. on Sundays,” Martin said Tuesday.

“We looked into it. We spoke with folks at the Law Department, Chairman [Emma] Mitts, other folks on Council and realized that the current, 10,000-square-foot requirement might be a little too much. Those small, locally-owned-and-operated grocery stores are still very large and they deserve just as much chance to serve customers as places that have a few thousand feet more.”

Rookie Ald. Matt Martin (47th), shown talking to a constituent after Tuesday’s hearing of the Committee on License and Consumer Protection.

Rookie Ald. Matt Martin (47th), shown talking to a constituent after Tuesday’s hearing of the Committee on License and Consumer Protection, pushed for the change that would open the door for roughly 75 more Chicago supermarkets to start selling liquor at 8 a.m. Sundays.

Fran Spielman/Sun-Times

Who’s buying booze at the early hour on a Sunday?

“Sometimes it’s families. Sometimes it’s an individual who wants to get their shopping in early in the day. And also, maybe someone in advance of a football game who wants to grab some brats and some beers in advance of maybe watching it themselves or having friends and family come over,” Martin said.

Martin said it’s a “convenience factor” for those who are working or busy and can’t do their shopping on Saturday.

“They might be stay-at-home parents and, perhaps that’s the only time of day that’s really convenient for them to do all of their grocery shopping all at once,” he said.

“If you had an extra half-hour or an hour, you could go down the street to a Mariano’s or wait until a Binny’s opens up. We just want to make it so that, where it’s appropriate and it’s safe, that we’re encouraging our businesses to do as well as they want to do. Reducing unnecessary regulation is important.”

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