Raise a glass, beer lovers--the Surly bill is now officially law.
With one fell swoop of his pen, Gov. Mark Dayton has made it legal for brewers to sell pints of their own beer in the state of Minnesota.
"We just appreciate all the support from the craft beer scene, the Minnesota Beer Activists, and the beer fans," says Surly owner Omar Ansari from the Brooklyn Center brewery. "That's how this bill got passed."[jump]
It seems like only yesterday that Ansari started a minor frenzy among fans of his award-winning brew by announcing plans to build a $20 million destination brewery, beer garden, and restaurant. There was just one little problem--the concept was illegal, so long as brewers couldn't sell their own pints.
So Mr. Surly went to St. Paul and, with the help of principle authors Sen. Linda Scheid and Rep. Jenifer Loon, wrote up the language for a "taproom license" bill. The bill was initially opposed by members of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, but after the language was expanded to limit the size of breweries that could obtain the license, the controversy died down. The Surly bill was packaged in a liquor omnibus bill and sailed through both House and Senate before landing on Gov. Dayton's desk this afternoon.
One might say Ansari had a hunch this would happen. Not only does he have designs for coasters, pint glasses, and T-shirts that say "Thank you Surly Nation," and "With your help, we changed the law," but he's well into the planning stages of the "Power of the Pint" victory bash on June 18. It'll be open to the public, and he's inviting the legislators that made it happen, as well as the other local brewers who supported the bill.
"It's a good reason to get together and drink Minnesota beer," he says.
It's not entirely clear if he'll be able to get a taproom license in that short amount of time, so guests may still not be able to pay for their first on-site beer. Alas.
As for the destination brewery, Ansari is still mum on the location but says he's "talking to bankers, investors, architects, and builders right now."
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- Surly Brewing Co. bill clears Senate committee [VIDEO]
- Surly Brewing Co. bill clears House committee [VIDEO]
- Surly Brewing Co. bill unveiled
- Surly's $20 million destination brewery: A first look