ST. PAUL, MINN. – Sen. Reinert’s (DFL-Duluth) set of Sunday liquor sales bills cleared its first hurdle of the session with a hearing in Commerce on Wednesday. Three of Sen. Reinert’s seven liquor-related bills were heard; those included allowing the sale of growlers on Sunday, allowing tap rooms to open on Sunday and a bill that allows beer breweries to refill any growler and reseal the container in accordance with current law.
“These are baby steps towards full repeal of the Sunday liquor law ban, but they also represent important issues of equity. Currently vineyards across the state can sell their product on Sundays, these bills would allow craft brewers to do the same,” said Sen. Reinert
As momentum for full repeal of the antiquated ‘blue law’ grows across the state, Sen. Reinert cites the burgeoning craft beer industry as a good reason for repeal. Testifiers at Wednesday’s committee hearing included representatives from the MN Brewers Association which argued that allowing tap room or growler sales on Sunday would greatly enhance their opportunities for growth as an industry. Canal Park Brewing in Duluth also testified that their inability to sell growlers to their patrons significantly inhibits their ability to bring in revenue. Not only does it represent a loss in sales, Canal Park Brewing argued, the law denies patrons the ability to share their beer via growler sales and subsequently slows the brewer’s ability to grow their own brand.
“The craft brewing industry contributes immensely to Minnesota’s economy. In 2012 it helped add nearly $742 million to the state economy, and in 2013 it contributed nearly 8,000 jobs. This industry continues to expand each year, and it makes good economic sense to let them sell their products on Sundays,” said Sen. Reinert.
Sen. Reinert expects these three bills to go into a Senate omnibus liquor bill, but adds that it’s the House’s turn now to hear these bills and move them forward.