Monday, March 12, 2012 at 7:47 a.m.
Town Hall Brewery: fighting the good fight
The Surly bill that passed last year, helped to substantially increase sales opportunities for Minnesota brewers by making it legal for them to sell pints of their beer in onsite taprooms, like the one recently opened at Fulton Brewery. But unfortunately, the law doesn't do anything to help brewpubs who are trying to get a third party to sell their product, which is precisely what Town Hall Brewery owner, Pete Rifakes, is looking to do, reports Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal.
The demand is absolutely there. Fans of Town Hall's award-winning beer can already fill up growlers of their favorite Masala Mama IPA or West Bank Pale Ale at the bar and restaurant, and when they announced recently that they would sell a limited amount of one of their barrel-aged beers, customers started lining up as early as 8 a.m. Town Hall sold out of that beer within an hour and a half of opening. Think those beer drinkers would like to be able to pick up a six pack of it at Zipp's or Four Firkins? Well, too bad.
Current Minnesota legislation prevents brewpubs from being able to have their beer sold in local liquor stores or poured in restaurants or bars not owned by that brewpub. Historically, fighting to amend Minnesota liquor laws has always proved to be a long road, but Rifakes has enlisted local lobbyists Fredrikson and Byron to help him navigate options, and it seems that a push to change the legislation is likely.
Town Hall wouldn't be the only Minnesota brewpub whose customers would benefit from a change in legislation. The Herkimer, Fitger's in Duluth, Barley John's, and Great Waters are among the others who could have their brews available in stores if the effort from Rifakes and his team prove successful.