More changes proposed to MN beer sales/distribution laws

Another new beer bill has made its way to the state Legislature. In addition to the Sunday sales bill and the so-called Surly bill, we now have S.F. No. 1013, which proposes changes to the brewpub license. If passed, the bill would allow the state's brewpubs to sell beer to wholesalers for distribution into the retail market.

Minnesota brewpubs are now only allowed to sell their beer for on-site consumption at the brewpub or in growlers for off-site consumption. They have an annual production cap of 3,500 barrels. Brewpubs are not allowed to sell beer for distribution into the retail market.

The new bill proposes to eliminate the 3,500-barrel cap and to allow brewpubs to sell to distributors. That means beer from Fitger's, Town Hall, Great Waters, or any of the other fine Minnesota brewpubs could be available in stores or at your favorite beer bar.

Such legislation has been attempted in the past and failed to gain support at the statehouse. Will it succeed this time? I have not read any statements of support or opposition as of yet, by legislators or interest groups. The legislature has a lot of liquor law changes on it's plate this session. Are brewers overreaching by pushing for too much too fast? That remains to be seen. But an interesting year for Minnesota beer just got a little more interesting.

Michael Agnew
Certified Cicerone
A Perfect Pint

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