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Beer boycott over! Twin Cities Teamsters end J.J. Taylor strike

The great, one-month-long Minneapolis-St. Paul Beer Boycott of 2018 has ended!

The great, one-month-long Minneapolis-St. Paul Beer Boycott of 2018 has ended! Jay Boller

At last, coinscientious beer drinkers of Minneapolis-St. Paul can stop boycotting the dozen-plus beers being delivered by scab drivers for J.J. Taylor Distributing. 

Others may continue drinking those beers, which included Summit and Grain Belt Premium, but may now do so without guilt. Well, without any additional guilt, aside from the normal amount. 

On Thursday evening, the Teamsters Local 792 union announced on Twitter they'd be meeting with representatives of J.J. Taylor, the biggest beer distributor in the state, to discuss terms of a "new offer" from management.

Some 95 union drivers had been on strike for six weeks. During that time, J.J. Taylor continued delivering beers like Guiness, Miller Lite, and Leinenkugel's to bars and liquor stores, bringing in drivers hired through the "crisis response" firm Huffmaster.

Some labor-friendly bars, like Grumpy's Northeast, stopped serving J.J. Taylor beers in solidarity, and the Teamsters asked supporters to temporarily give up more than a dozen brews to make the strike a burdensome one for the company.

The root of the dispute depended which side was doing the explaining. The Teamsters said ownership wanted to convert some two-man routes to solo operations, which could leave a single delivery driver responsible for transporting dozens of 175-pound beer kegs into businesses -- and, in many instances, down the stairs.

This, union leaders said, was unsafe. J.J. Taylor said the Teamsters really went on strike to protect "seniority and work rules, rather than safety." 

Which side agrred to move on its terms? And to what? The Teamsters didn't say, though their tweets from Thursday night make the contract sound like a victory for union members.

Ask us, and the real winners here are people who got to feel like they were doing the right thing because they switched to a different beer than their favorite. For one month of their lives. Congratulations, everyone. It's going to be 1,000 degrees for every second of this weekend. Stock up on ice for those coolers.