A bipartisan group of legislators from both the Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate held a press conference to promote the removal of the “growler cap” that imposes restrictions on certain Minnesota breweries. Under current Minnesota law, breweries that produce more than 20,000 barrels of beer per year are prohibited from selling directly to customers. Currently, 5 Minnesota breweries exceed that cap, with an additional 2 breweries fast approaching that limit. The legislation, which would remove the growler cap, was introduced this week and referred to the Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee.
The growler cap was enacted to protect liquor distributers and retailers by preventing large breweries from self-distributing their products. While all Minnesota breweries rely on the distribution and retail system, proponents of removing the growler cap argue the current system impedes growth for Minnesota businesses and forces unnecessary decisions that may result in cutting employees or significant revenue losses when successful breweries reach the current growler cap.
Proponents of removing the growler cap also believe that the current system disadvantages Minnesota brewing companies from competing with national rivals that produce craft beers at much larger scales, as they are forced to go without a valuable revenue stream. In addition, the growler cap was designed to protect small businesses, but none of the 5 companies currently exceeding the cap are larger than 75 employees.
Breweries and the hospitality sector at large have seen some of the deepest financial impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Proponents believe removing the growler cap will modernize liquor laws to better encourage the growing craft brewing industry in Minnesota and provide businesses a new source of revenue at a time that it is greatly needed. (SF 874)