With the beer business booming in Minnesota, local beer makers are looking to ensure that legislation isn't passed that would infringe on their ability to peddle their wares directly to the consumer market without the aid of a middleman.
The campaign is called Save the Growler, and the forces behind it have launched a website and a social media campaign to help raise public awareness. As the law stands, small craft brewers are able to sell growlers (64-ounce jugs of beer) to the public so long as their annual production is less than 3,500 barrels, and of that production only 500 can be sold to the general public in growler form. Brooklyn Park's Surly Brewing Company has already exceeded that capacity and has had to stop selling growlers from its local taproom.
According to SavetheGrowler.org, "One by one, the craft beers you know and love risk falling victim to Minnesota's restrictive growler regulations. Right now, breweries can sell growlers if their annual production is 3,500 barrels or less. But once a brewery surpasses that level, state law prohibits them from selling any growlers. Ever. Gone is an important source of revenue these small businesses need for growth. Gone, too, is the freedom of choice once available to the brewery faithful."
SavetheGrowler.org also says, "Our goal is to amend the law and raise the annual production cut-off threshold. We're not seeking to expand the times or places we can sell growlers, or the amount of them we can sell. We're not asking for funding or tax breaks. We're simply asking legislators not to take away what breweries and our customers already enjoy."
As craft beer sales rise and breweries are able to increase production, they risk surpassing the threshold that would prevent them from continuing their popular growler sales. In a statement issued to a local news organization, Jim Diley, one of the co-owners of Fulton Brewery in downtown Minneapolis, says, "We simply want to be able to continue what we are doing today in a year from now when we go over that limit."