Surly provision in House omnibus liquor bill is ready for approval
The House committee was too busy arguing to get Surly yesterday afternoon.
A long argument over a car insurance bill prevented the House Commerce Committee from approving its version of an omnibus liquor bill yesterday afternoon. However, the House version is now public and it does contain the Surly provision.
The "brewer taproom license" bill is first on the list included in the package. Once it's approved, the Surly bill will be one step closer to a floor vote in both House and Senate.
On Tuesday, the Senate pushed through their omnibus liquor bill, including a section approving a change to state liquor laws that allows brewers to sell pints of their own beer. The law has received an enormous swell of grassroots support ever since Surly Brewing Co. owner Omar Ansari launched a PR campaign promising to build a $20 million destination brewery somewhere in the Twin Cities if the laws were changed to allow him to sell pints. He found authors for the bill in both House and Senate in February, and has been using his social media campaign to drum up support ever since.
The House version of the liquor omnibus bill differs slightly from the Senate version, in that it includes a bill pushed by Four Firkins owner Jason Alvey allowing him to sell t-shirts with his craft beer shop's logo on them. That was left out of the Senate version (to the consternation of Alvey and Four Firkins fans). The language of the Surly bill remains the same -- breweries that produce under 250,000 barrels a year will be allowed to sell pints.
The House committee will reconvene this evening to handle its unfinished business.
Ansari is feeling either confident about the bill or had a premonition it wouldn't be discussed yesterday -- his brewer Todd Haug was tweeting photos of Ansari at the Surly brewery as the House committee meeting was going on.
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