Surdyk’s Liquor & Cheese Shop fined $2,000 for early Sunday liquor sales


The new Sunday liquor sales law, signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton just five days ago on March 7, won’t go into effect until July 2. But that hasn’t deterred one Minneapolis retailer from opening for Sunday liquor sales four months early.

Surdyk’s Liquor & Cheese Shop surprised its online followers with an email announcement that the family-owned store would be open for liquor sales on Sunday, March 12. The store reaffirmed the move in a tweet sent out Sunday morning.

In a phone call, Melissa Surdyk, a fourth generation member of the family-owned liquor store, said that being known as an industry leader led to their decision to open for Sunday liquor sales before the law goes into effect on July 2. “We’re aware of what the law and the bill states,” Surdyk said in a phone call with The Growler, “but the governor signed it so that’s why we wanted to open.”

Surdyk’s has a history of being the first to implement new state laws ahead their official effective dates, according to Melissa Surdyk. “Back before my time—I believe it was in the ’60s—you couldn’t discount liquor. Then that [law legalizing discounting liquor] got passed in a similar circumstance where a law passed and then it went into effect several months later. But my grandpa started discounting liquor the next day.” Melissa also said Surdyk’s was the first liquor store to advertise liquor in newspapers, running an ad just one day after a law was passed allowing such advertisements, but before it officially went into effect.

It’s unclear whether the state authorities will take any actions regarding Surdyk’s early adoption of the law. So far, the only phone calls the store has received are from people curious to know if they are truly open for business before heading down to the store to shop for beer, wine, and spirits. “Our lot’s full,” she says. “I see one spot, but I see people circling around.”

[UPDATE: March 13, 12:00pm]: According to a report by KSTP 5 Eyewitness News, a licensing official from the City of Minneapolis visited the store Sunday and told Surdyk’s to close, but the store remained open.

The City of Minneapolis issued an email statement to KSTP, saying, “The City has been in verbal contact with owner Jim Surdyk. He was advised, both by phone and again in person, that allowing his store to be open for liquor sales on Sunday was in violation of the law. The new Sunday liquor sales law does not go into effect until July 1, 2017.

“As a result of this violation, the City is in the process of issuing $3,500 in citations against Surdyk’s. The City will also pursue sanctions against the off-sale liquor license held by Surdyk’s based on the owner’s clear disregard of the law.”

[UPDATE: March 13, 2:15pm]: City Pages is reporting that the penalty has been reduced to $2,000, but Surdyk’s will have their liquor license suspended for 30 days, beginning July 2.

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