Surly bill passes Senate floor vote 60-0

Sen. Chris Gerlach explains the liquor package and Surly bill to a full Senate.
Sen. Chris Gerlach explains the liquor package and Surly bill to a full Senate.

This afternoon, the Surly bill sailed over its final legislative hurdle and is poised to become a law.

Just hours ago, the Senate voted unanimously for passage of its omnibus liquor bill, which included the popular provision creating a new taproom license. The House version passed on Tuesday.

Senator Chris Gerlach ticked through the provisions in the bill before opening it up to a full vote, remarking that it was a good thing "for all those who want more consumer choices."

The final score.
The final score.

The senators clearly agreed. In an rare moment of bipartisanship, the green yea's ticked up next to the words "FINAL PASSAGE," and the bill passed 60-0. After the differences between the House and Senate versions are ironed out, the next and final stop will be Gov. Mark Dayton's desk.

Since February, Surly Brewing Co. owner Omar Ansari has been pushing passage of a bill that would allow brewers to sell their pints in their breweries. He created a frenzy of public interest by announcing plans to build a $20 million destination brewery, which would only be legal if the bill passes.

Over the past several weeks, legislators hammered out a compromise with the bill's opponents at the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association and the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association, who argued that it created an unfair advantage for brewers like Ansari. The final result limits the number of taproom licenses a brewer can hold, and limits the size of the brewers who apply for them to exclude giants like Bud.

Ansari tweeted victory:

It's unanimous! 60 Yeahs, 0 Nays. Thank you Senator Scheid & Senator Gerlach. than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

We're quite certain that's not the end of the festivities for beer fans tonight.

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