Sunday alcohol sales will start earlier in Ohio

Restaurants, bars, carryouts and other vendors licensed to peddle wine and spirits on Sundays will be able to hawk them two hours earlier thanks to a change in Ohio law that takes effect Sunday, Oct. 18.

The change allows vendors holding D-6 liquor permits to begin selling wine and spirits at 11 a.m. rather than 1 p.m. on Sunday, state officials said. The law was included in the state’s 2009-2010 budget.

Statewide, the number of license holders affected by the change will exceed 8,100, said Matt Mullins, a spokesman for the Ohio Division of Liquor Control. Mullins said state officials on Tuesday mailed out letters to holders of D-6 licenses, informing them of the change.

Restaurant owners have lobbied for several years for the earlier start time, said Mark Glasper, the Ohio Restaurant Association’s director of communications, on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Restaurant executives think the change will help them to compete with airports, hotels, shopping centers and other venues that don’t have to wait until 1 p.m. on Sundays to serve wine and spirits, Glasper said. It also will help restaurants boost Sunday lunch sales, he said. “Our members will be very happy to see that this has been changed, finally,” he said.

Rachel Betzler, a spokeswoman for The Kroger Co., said the grocery chain’s Dayton stores already begins Sunday sales at 10 a.m. so the new rules won’t affect Kroger’s local operations.

ThreeWitt Enterprises Inc. operates 10 Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar restaurants and three Milano’s Atlantic City Subs, all of which have D-6 permits, said David Fisher, a partner in Dayton-based ThreeWitt.

The change will make it easier to give customers what they want and also allow the restaurant to train staff to adhere to a single standard as to when they can serve alcohol, Fisher said.

Being allowed to serve liquor and wine earlier on Sundays also could mean incremental gains in sales, Fisher said. “We may see some financial benefit from it,” Fisher said. “It’s definitely not going to hurt.”