STRAYER: Hoosier hysterics over cold beer, too much daylight

Published 9:14 am Monday, December 4, 2017

One of the benefits of living on the border of Indiana is the front row seat we have to watch the Hoosiers rage over important topics such as cold beer sales and the extension of Daylight Savings Time.

While this column topic is not as salacious or offensive as what else is going on in the country today, the issues of beer sales and DST are near and dear to my heart and apropos to the title of my column, “Speaking From Experience.”

From 1986 until 1992, I was employed by the National Association of Convenience Stores as its government relations director. This exciting position earned me the nickname of “America’s Party Store Lobbyist.”

It was a big job because I followed both state and federal issues dealing with the convenience store industry. It allowed me to lobby for the extension of DST, as well as diverse industry issues including alcohol sales, petroleum marketing, fast food, sales taxes, zoning, labor relations, employee safety and OSHA issues,

Superfund and leaking underground storage tanks, adult magazines and drug paraphernalia, just to name a few.

By the way, because women do not shop at convenience stores after dark, the DST extension results in nearly a billion dollars in additional sales.

Indiana has a law that states you cannot sell cold beer at certain times and places on certain days. This ban covers cold beer sales at convenience stores and is a result of the powerful lobbies of the distilled spirits industry (hard liquor), the food marketing industry (grocery stores and big box stores), and the restaurant idustry.  All three special interests benefit from the ban on cold beer sales at convenience stores because they are allowed to sell cold beer all the time.

It was messed up in 1987, and it is still messed up 30 years later.

“Let’s crack open another warm one, Bro!”

It is remarkable that just because you live across the street from Indiana you can now walk into the “Beer Cave” at most Michigan convenience and liquor stores.  How civilized is that?

A real walk-in cooler. Such a cool idea.

Now let’s talk about Daylight Saving Time.  This has become a controversial issue in northern Indiana because they believe that the extra hour of daylight at the end of the day will kill all the corn.

They also think that its better to be pitch dark at 4:30 p.m.   You see, people forget that when you “fall back” in early November, its stays lighter longer. Who wants to walk home from school in the dark?

By the way, do any kids still walk home from school?

Lobbying for the extension of DST was my first big legislative responsibility as a federal lobbyist.  We had a coalition that included the NCAA and all the professional sports organizations, the petroleum industry, the National Retail Federation, nurseries and gardening stores, golf courses and marinas, the tourism industry and those suffering from retinitus pigmentosa (night blindness).

The outdoor movie industry was the only real victim of DST. If you don’t know what an outdoor theater is, ask your grandparents.

Now remember to stay sober and out of Indiana after dark. I’m speaking from experience here!

A native of Niles, Jack Strayer moved back home in 2009 after living and working in Washington DC since 1976. Strayer has served as a congressional staffer, state legislative press secretary, federal registered lobbyist and Vice President of the National Center for Policy Analysis. He is a nationally recognized expert on federal health policy reform and led the fight for the enactment of Health Savings Accounts.