The Senate’s Omnibus Liquor Bill easily passed the Senate Thursday on a 55-11 vote. A package of several alcohol-related initiatives, the bill was previously assembled by the Commerce Committee and is comprised of bills from both Republicans and Democrats.
Legislation regarding microdistilleries make up a major portion of the bill; they would be able to sell customers one 375 milliliter souvenir bottle per day, and would be eligible to obtain a temporary license for the on-sale of liquor in connection with a social event sponsored by the distillery. The bill also awards liquor licenses to several Minnesota institutions, including the Norway House and several golf courses.
The two most notable provisions would allow brewpubs to sell their product at one location at the State Fair and allow the sale of growlers by small breweries and brewpubs on Sundays. Growlers are 64-ounce take-home containers of beer that are typically used by small and independent brewpubs to showcase their products, and are sold alongside other beer that is already legal to purchase on Sundays at these establishments.
The bill was designed to have strong bipartisan support and support local, Minnesota-grown businesses. Common-sense provisions will be popular with consumers as well, like the ability to buy a Bloody Mary or Mimosa on a Sunday morning starting at 8:00am. The bill also allows consumers to use an instructional permit ID to purchase alcohol, as long as the customer is over 21.
An amendment was offered to allow for full Sunday Sales, with the provision that deliveries would still be prohibited on Sundays. After a strong bipartisan debate, the amendment failed on a bipartisan 28-35 vote. With an official Senate position against Sunday sales, it is increasingly unlikely that the policy will find its way into law this year. The bill was quickly passed after the amendment was considered, and now awaits a vote on the House floor. (S.F. 1238)