ST. PAUL, Minn. – Following a week of uncertainty regarding the future of Sunday Sales in Minnesota, the team leading the charge in the Senate and House, Senator Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) and Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), admitted defeat after the liquor bill provisions passed in both chambers without the growler language. The provision to sell growlers on Sunday was stripped out of the Senate version earlier in the week, and because of a procedural process, neither chamber was able to add it back in before passing the bill. Sen. Reinert expressed his disappointment at a Friday afternoon press conference.
“While I am pleased about the tiny steps forward on Sunday Sales — including allowing tap rooms to be open on Sundays and my ‘growler freedom’ bill; I’m disappointed that the Senate isn’t doing more this Session to support the quickly-growling craft beer industry,” said Sen. Reinert.
He added, “There is more momentum than ever before on the Sunday Sales repeal issue, and that fact was made very clear with the 43 to 22 vote on the Senate Floor earlier this week. This isn’t a partisan issue, and the vast majority of Minnesotans support repeal. It’s time this progressive legislature rises to the demands of our constituents.”
Sen. Reinert said in addition to arguing for the freedom for businesses to sell their products whenever they choose, he’s arguing for consistency. Minnesota law already allows for wineries to sell up to 12 bottles on a Sunday, allowing tap rooms and breweries to sell growlers 7-days a week would make the playing field more even. While the issue is done for 2014, Sen. Reinert promises he won’t give up on the fight.
“We saw more energy and engagement on this issue than ever before, and while the baby steps this year were more like an infant crawl, they are positive movements forward,” said Sen. Reinert.
The craft brewing industry in Minnesota now accounts for some 8,000 jobs and $80 million in revenue. Sen. Reinert added that it isn’t just consumers advocating for change, he reports he has also heard from many in the industry.