Are Liquor Stores Open On Columbus Day?

One of the holidays that some states in the US celebrate every year is Columbus Day, which is the commemoration of Christopher Columbus’s arrival to the Americas back in 1492. In most cases, when there is a holiday, one of the things that many people do is to drink, particularly if off work. This might have you wondering, ‘are liquor stores open on Columbus Day?’

Liquor stores are open on Columbus Day. It largely depends on store owners whether or not to open on any holiday, such as Columbus Day or even Christmas, because there is no federal mandate to close. In the US, only government offices and banks are known to close nationwide for Columbus Day.

Of course, when it comes to holidays, some businesses tend to take advantage of the day by closing so that all employees can rest. However, there are also stores that take advantage in another way, by staying open for business and being available for those who are off. This includes liquor stores, which are not mandated to close and likely do brisk business on Columbus Day.


Are liquor stores open on Columbus Day?

There are plenty of different holidays that are celebrated all over the US. One such holiday is Columbus Day, which is the day set aside to honor explorer, Christopher Columbus, who arrived in the Americas hundreds of years ago. So some may wonder if stores such as liquor stores are open on Columbus Day?

Even though some states honor Columbus Day with a celebration and schools are often closed, liquor stores are almost always open on Columbus Day. Closing liquor stores is not mandated, so most remain open to take advantage of the brisk business from people off work, in addition to regular patrons.

Traditionally, Columbus Day was celebrated on October 12, which is regarded as the actual day of Christopher Columbus’s arrival to America in 1492. This day of Columbus’ arrival is special because it basically became the reason for the large-scale immigration of many Europeans to the Americas.

For an interesting look at world history and maps, you might try History of the World Map by Map, available at Amazon. With over 3,000 positive reviews and bound in hardback, it’s an engaging book, as well as pleasing for any coffee table!

However, it has since been moved to the second Monday of October traditionally, though in some places it’s placed around Thanksgiving. In Tennessee, for instance, it’s officially been moved to the day after Thanksgiving, providing for a four-day holiday for government employees in the southern state. 

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Columbus Day is a Federal Holiday

Columbus Day is actually a federal holiday, which means that it is celebrated throughout the entire United States and not just in certain states, for federal employees, that is. However, just because it is a federal holiday and government offices are closed (like postal services and the Social Security building) doesn’t mean it’s mandated or required for other places to close.

There are plenty of times the federal government ‘closes’ while other businesses don’t, so it’s not that unusual either.

Because of (debatable) controversy surrounding Christopher Columbus, there are certain states that have opted to celebrate the traditional Columbus Day in other ways, like calling it Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Meanwhile, only a few states still celebrate Columbus Day as it is. We’ll look at this more closely in the following section.

Many States opt to ignore Columbus Day or Rename It

Though many states have opted to ignore or rename Columbus Day, there are plenty of Christopher Columbus and likewise ‘Columbus Day’, defenders such as Daily Wire commentator, Michael Knowles.

Though still one of 11 federal holidays (12 during inauguration year), according to Pew Research, there are just 20 states which currently celebrate ‘Christopher Columbus Day’ the second Monday in October. Other states may offer the day off but don’t proclaim it in the name of ‘Columbus’.

Quite curiously, some namesake cities such as ‘Columbus, Ohio’ and ‘the District of Columbia’ have renamed the holiday to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

For states ignoring or renaming Columbus Day, it stands to reason liquor stores will be open, just like other types of retail and service businesses. So keep in mind that stores and businesses that are ‘possibly’ closed are those closely related to governmental offices like some public schools and libraries.

Stores/Businesses Commonly Closed on Columbus Day

With federal employees off for Columbus Day, you may think that other stores or businesses than liquor stores might also be ‘off’. And yes, there are some.

Common businesses and stores closed for Columbus Day include office places and schools. For example, many public and private K-12 schools are closed on Columbus Day, even if the reason isn’t specifically to honor Christopher Columbus.

For example, Boston Public Schools listed Columbus Day off in October 2021, but as a ‘state holiday.’

Due to Columbus Day being a ‘day off’ in the past for most schools, they are likely to keep it scheduled on their calendars as an ‘off day.’ As a public school teacher for almost 20 years, I often had this day off.

Sometimes it was designated as ‘Columbus Day Holiday’ but other times, it was listed as a ‘fall break’ day or even a ‘teacher inservice/professional day’ where only teachers attended school for meetings while students had the day off.

Public universities commonly have the day off too, but most don’t list is as a Columbus Day. Rather they take the day off to honor Native Americans (‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’) or as a fall break day.

What days are liquor stores commonly closed?

Since liquor stores are open on Columbus Day, it may make you wonder if there are days when liquor stores are commonly closed. And yes, there are mandated times when liquor stores must be closed. Let’s briefly address that question.

Liquor licenses are routinely governed by individual states. As such, states regulate certain days and times when liquor stores can be opened or closed, outside of the wishes of store owners. For example, in some states, liquor stores must close on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Each state makes its own rules regarding liquor stores, which is why it varies somewhat. In Tennessee, for example, liquor retail stores must close on Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas days.

What is the connection between Columbus Day and liquor?

Some stories linking bars, liquor, and Christopher Columbus might surprise people.

You may be wondering why there might be a chance that liquor stores are closed during Columbus Day. So, what is the connection between Columbus Day and liquor?

Basically, there is no special connection between Columbus Day and liquor. It is only that Americans are known to drink during any sort of holiday or any kind of occasion that they can use to unwind and have a few drinks with family and friends.

In fact, holidays and drinking have become quite synonymous with one another in the US and probably in other countries. 

So, of course, during Columbus Day, it is perfectly understandable for people to want to know if liquor stores are open because they may want to buy some drinks early in the day so that they can celebrate later.

But there is a fun tidbit that you may want to know regarding Christopher Columbus when he was sailing all over the Americas and the Caribbean hundreds of years ago.

An interesting rumor that you might want to know is that Columbus and his crew mostly sailed drunk when they were sailing across the open seas and throughout the Caribbean. That’s because wine was one of the many drinks that they stocked up on before they left Spain to embark on a journey to the west.

This could mean that they were probably drunk throughout most of the journey.

They were also tasked to bring sugarcane to the West Indies. Rum is one of the many products that can be produced from sugarcane, which isn’t a plant that’s indigenous to the Caribbean. So, as Columbus was sailing throughout the Caribbean, he brought the knowledge of how to cultivate sugarcane with him, too. As such, he may actually be responsible for the rum production in the Caribbean, which ultimately became a successful venture in the West Indies.

The interesting part here is that, while Columbus Day really isn’t about Christopher Columbus bringing rum to the western world, we can still drink to the fact that it was *possibly* he and his crew, while sailing drunk, helped to bring about the Caribbean rum trade.

Other notables on Christopher Columbus:

  • He sailed four times from Europe to the Americas.
  • He was a skilled navigator and improved understanding for others.
  • He opened transatlantic trade routes for Europe that had been cut off by the Ottoman Empire.
  • He was devoutly Catholic.

Wrapping Up Liquor Stores On Columbus Day

In summary, liquor stores are known for being open on Columbus Day. Even in cities where Christopher Columbus is well celebrated, bars and liquor stores are open and in fact, generally do rapid business.

Columbus Day is a controversial US holiday, but remains one of 11 federal holidays for government employees. Whether or not states honor Columbus with his own special day varies.

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Additional Source: Vine Pair; TN Gov

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