Surdyk's early Sunday sales penalty: 30-day suspension, starting on first legal Sunday

The city of Minneapolis on Monday handed down its penalty for Surdyk’s Liquor owner Jim Surdyk for opening his store for Sunday liquor sales this weekend, months ahead of the first legal date of July 2. Surdyk’s has been fined $2,000 and will face a 30-day license suspension, beginning July 2 – blocking Surdyk’s for participating in the first day of legal Sunday sales and preventing the store from selling liquor during the Fourth of July holiday week.

“The governor signed the bill, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s good to go,” Surdyk told Fox 9.

City of Minneapolis notice of adverse license action

Dear Mr. Surdyk,

It has been determined that you violated Minneapolis code of Ordinances (MCO) 364.80(b)(1) on March 12, 2017 by being open and making multiple unauthorized and illegal sales of alcohol throughout the day. You also knowingly and intentionally refused to abide by lawful notice and order to cease such illegal sales. As you are aware, the ordinance currently prohibits any off-sale alcohol on Sundays, and will continue to do so until at least July 2, 2017, should the city council adopt an ordinance allowing such sales.

Pursuant to Minnesota statute 340.415, we have determined that the appropriate sanction for these violations is a $2,000 civil penalty and a thirty (30) day suspension of your off-sale liquor license, to be served beginning July 2, 2017. Should you admit that the violation occurred but do not agree with this proposed sanction, you may state your case and make argument to the city council at a hearing to be scheduled at the first available meeting of the Community Development & Regulatory Services committee of the city council. Should you deny that a violation occurred and wish to contest the matter, an evidentiary hearing will be promptly scheduled in front of a Minneapolis administrative hearing officer pursuant to MCO 259.255, who will make findings of fact, conclusions of law and issue a recommendation to the city council. Counsel may represent you at any hearing before the city council or a hearing officer.

Please notify me by March 17 of how you wish to proceed. Furthermore, please be advised that should you continue to violate currently-applicable law prohibiting off-sale alcohol sales on Sundays, or any other applicable law or ordinance governing the sale of beverage alcohol, the City will pursue revocation of your license and reserves the right to pursue all other applicable remedies. My contact information is below should you need to reach me with any questions you may have.

Grant Wilson
Manager, Licenses and Consumer Services

Sunday surprise

Surdyk's sent out an email blast and posted on social media Sunday morning, surprising customers who thought they would have to wait until July 2 to purchase alcohol on a Sunday in Minnesota.

“I missed the fall of the Berlin Wall, so I figured I would capture at least one major outbreak of freedom in my lifetime,” said Mitch Berg, who made the trip from St. Paul just to say he was one of the first Minnesotans to buy alcohol on a Sunday.

Legalization of Sunday sales

The Sunday liquor sales bill passed the Minnesota House and Senate this session, with Governor Mark Dayton signing the bill on March 7.

Liquor industry opposition

Tony Chesack, Executive Director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, said there’s nothing “unclear” about the law and many in the industry are disappointed in the move.

“MLBA does not support people openly breaking the law,” said Chesack. “We’re all watching to see what the state and the city of Minneapolis does.”