Minnesota Sunday Growler Sales are Bittersweet

A Celebratory Beer

Some Minnesota craft breweries have started selling growlers on Sundays since the Minnesota legislature passed the 2015 liquor omnibus bill and Governor Dayton signed the bill into law. Several Minnesota cities such as Mongomery, Buffalo, Shakopee, and Goodview all moved swiftly to give their local small brewers and brewpubs the option to sell growlers on Sundays. Today, Minneapolis and Duluth will join the ranks of municipalities that will give qualifying brewers the option to sell, and consumers the choice to buy, growlers of local craft beer on Sundays in Minnesota.

First Sunday growler sale!! Enjoy buddy!

Posted by Hayes’ Public House on Sunday, May 24, 2015

More Equal Than Others

Sadly, several Minnesota craft brewers are now further isolated from brewing brethren. Even before the change brewers like Schell’s, Summit, and Surly couldn’t sell growlers Mon-Sat. The law change clearly illustrates Minnesota laws purposely dividing the Minnesota brewing industry, much like the needless production and distribution restrictions on our award winning brewpubs. A full repeal would have given all Minnesota liquor retailers an equal opportunity while maintaining a (mostly) level playing field.

Excuses and Exceptions

The option to sell growlers is surely a victory for some small brewers and consumers alike. However, the baby step of allowing growlers is bittersweet for many Minnesota consumers. The vast majority of Minnesotans support repealing the ban on Sunday liquor sales, not just some brewpubs and breweries. Sunday growlers was the smallest step that could have been taken down the road toward full repeal. Sunday growlers sales do not benefit liquor stores that want to be open, or consumers of wine or spirits, or Minnesota Craft Distillers. And, Sunday growler sales certainly do not help consumers that don’t live near a qualifying brewery or would rather not pay growler prices.

Many legislators offered excuses for not supporting an amendment. One legislator was afraid of lawsuit,  some legislators cited competition concerns for municipal owned and operated liquor stores, and some legislators wanted statewide repeal instead of the municipal option that Rep. Jenifer Loon’s amendment would have provided.

Strangely enough, Sunday growler sales is now legal in Minnesota, but via the municipal option many cited for avoiding full repeal. Minnesota cities, or governing bodies with jurisdiction, may choose not to allow the Sunday growlers if their leaders don’t like the change. In Saint Paul, retiring longtime City Council member Dave Thune voted against Sunday growler sales.

Next Steps

The change to allow Sunday growlers in Minnesota, if a municipality approves, is certainly a positive step toward full repeal. But, Sunday growler sales is the smallest of steps that the Minnesota Legislature could have taken toward full repeal of the Sunday prohibition on off-sale liquor sales. There is much further to go before Minnesota liquor laws reach a level of parity with most of America and every surrounding state. Maybe by next session a year of consumers driving past liquor stores on Sundays to go breweries will soften the opposition from special interest groups like Teamsters Joint Council 32, Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association, The Minnesota Beer Wholesalers Assoc, and Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association.

The Best way to move legislators to full repeal is with action.
Minnesotans supporting full repeal need to do several things:

  • Sign the petition to allow Sunday liquor sales at SundaySalesMN.org, share it with friends and family.
  • Politely contact legislators regarding their votes on Sunday liquor sales amendments (record below). You can find your legislators contact info here.
  • Vote out legislators that refuse to listen to their constituents.
  • Support legislators that are listening to Minnesota consumers. Volunteer, donate, and take advantage of the Political Contribution Refund. The Political Contribution Refund program gives eligible Minnesota voters a tax refund for contributions to parties and state-level candidates. The maximum annual refund is $50 for an individual or $100 for a married couple (if you file a joint Political Contribution Refund application). Full details and instructions on Political Contribution Refunds here.

How They Voted

MN Senate Vote on Sunday Liquor Sales – 2015
Dist Last Name First Name Party Vote
1 Stumpf LeRoy A. DFL N
2 Skoe Rod DFL N
3 Bakk Thomas M. DFL N
4 Eken Kent DFL N
5 Saxhaug Tom DFL N
6 Tomassoni David J. DFL N
7 Reinert Roger J. DFL Y
8 Ingebrigtsen Bill R N
9 Gazelka Paul E. R N
10 Ruud Carrie R N
11 Lourey Tony DFL N
12 Westrom Torrey N. R N
13 Fischbach Michelle L. R excused
14 Pederson John C. R N
15 Brown David M. R N
16 Dahms Gary H. R N
17 Koenen Lyle DFL N
18 Newman Scott J. R Y
19 Sheran Kathy DFL excused
20 Dahle Kevin L. DFL Y
21 Schmit Matt DFL Y
22 Weber Bill R N
23 Hoffman John A. DFL N
23 Rosen Julie A. R N
24 Jensen Vicki DFL N
25 Senjem David H. R Y
26 Nelson Carla J. R Y
27 Sparks Dan DFL N
28 Miller Jeremy R. R Y
29 Anderson Bruce D. R N
30 Kiffmeyer Mary R Y
31 Benson Michelle R. R Y
31 Carlson Jim DFL N
32 Nienow Sean R. R Y
33 Osmek David J. R Y
34 Limmer Warren R N
35 Petersen Branden R Y
37 Johnson Alice M. DFL N
38 Chamberlain Roger C. R excused
39 Housley Karin R Y
40 Eaton Chris A. DFL N
41 Goodwin Barb DFL excused
42 Scalze Bev DFL Y
43 Wiger Charles W. DFL N
44 Bonoff Terri E. DFL Y
45 Rest Ann H. DFL N
46 Latz Ron DFL N
47 Ortman Julianne E. R Y
48 Hann David W. R Y
49 Franzen Melisa DFL Y
50 Wiklund Melissa H. DFL N
52 Metzen James P. DFL N
53 Kent Susan DFL Y
54 Sieben Katie DFL Y
55 Pratt Eric R. R Y
56 Hall Dan D. R Y
57 Clausen Greg D. DFL N
58 Thompson Dave R Y
59 Champion Bobby Joe DFL Y
60 Dziedzic Kari DFL N
61 Dibble D. Scott DFL Y
62 Hayden Jeff DFL N
63 Torres Ray Patricia DFL N
64 Cohen Richard DFL N
65 Pappas Sandra L. DFL Y
66 Marty John DFL Y
67 Hawj Foung DFL Y
MN House Vote on Sunday Liquor Sales – 2015
Dist Last Name First Name Party Vote
01A Fabian Dan R N
01B Kiel Debra R Y
02A Hancock Dave R Y
02B Green Steve R N
03A Dill David DFL N
03B Murphy Mary DFL N
04A Lien Ben DFL Y
04B Marquart Paul DFL N
05A Persell John DFL N
05B Anzelc Tom DFL N
06A Melin Carly DFL N
06B Metsa Jason DFL N
07A Schultz Jennifer DFL N
07B Simonson Erik DFL N
08A Nornes Bud R Y
08B Franson Mary R Y
09A Anderson Mark R Y
09B Kresha Ron R Y
10A Heintzeman Josh R N
10B Lueck Dale R N
11A Sundin Mike DFL N
11B Rarick Jason R N
12A Backer Jeff R N
12B Anderson Paul R N
13A Howe Jeff R
13B O’Driscoll Tim R N
14A Theis Tama R N
14B Knoblach Jim R N
15A Erickson Sondra R N
15B Newberger Jim R Y
16A Swedzinski Chris R N
16B Torkelson Paul R N
17A Miller Tim R Y
17B Baker Dave R N
18A Urdahl Dean R N
18B Gruenhagen Glenn R N
19A Johnson Clark DFL Y
19B Considine, Jr. John (Jack) DFL N
20A Vogel Bob R Y
20B Bly David DFL N
21A Kelly Tim R Y
21B Drazkowski Steve R Y
22A Schomacker Joe R N
22B Hamilton Rod R Y
23A Gunther Bob R N
23B Cornish Tony R N
24A Petersburg John R Y
24B Daniels Brian R Y
25A Quam Duane R N
25B Norton Kim DFL Y
26A Liebling Tina DFL Y
26B Pierson Nels R Y
27A Bennett Peggy R N
27B Poppe Jeanne DFL N
28A Pelowski Jr. Gene DFL N
28B Davids Greg R N
29A McDonald Joe R Y
29B O’Neill Marion R Y
30A Zerwas Nick R Y
30B Lucero Eric R Y
31A Daudt Kurt R Y
31B Hackbarth Tom R N
32A Johnson Brian R N
32B Barrett Bob R N
33A Hertaus Jerry R Y
33B Pugh Cindy R Y
34A Peppin Joyce R Y
34B Smith Dennis R Y
35A Whelan Abigail R Y
35B Scott Peggy R Y
36A Uglem Mark R Y
36B Hortman Melissa DFL N
37A Newton Jerry DFL N
37B Sanders Tim R Y
38A Runbeck Linda R Y
38B Dean Matt R N
39A Dettmer Bob R Y
39B Lohmer Kathy R N
40A Nelson Michael V. DFL N
40B Hilstrom Debra DFL N
41A Bernardy Connie DFL N
41B Laine Carolyn DFL N
42A Yarusso Barb DFL Y
42B Isaacson Jason DFL
43A Fischer Peter DFL N
43B Lillie Leon DFL N
44A Anderson Sarah R Y
44B Applebaum Jon DFL N
45A Carlson Sr. Lyndon DFL Y
45B Freiberg Mike DFL Y
46A Winkler Ryan DFL N
46B Youakim Cheryl DFL N
47A Nash Jim R Y
47B Hoppe Joe R N
48A Selcer Yvonne DFL Y
48B Loon Jenifer R Y
49A Erhardt Ron DFL N
49B Rosenthal Paul DFL Y
50A Slocum Linda DFL N
50B Lenczewski Ann DFL N
51A Masin Sandra DFL N
51B Halverson Laurie DFL N
52A Hansen Rick DFL N
52B Atkins Joe DFL N
53A Ward JoAnn DFL N
53B Fenton Kelly R Y
54A Schoen Dan DFL N
54B McNamara Denny R Y
55A Loonan Bob R Y
55B Albright Tony R Y
56A Christensen Drew R Y
56B Peterson Roz R Y
57A Mack Tara R Y
57B Wills Anna R Y
58A Koznick Jon R Y
58B Garofalo Pat R Y
59A Mullery Joe DFL N
59B Dehn Raymond DFL N
60A Loeffler Diane DFL Y
60B Kahn Phyllis DFL Y
61A Hornstein Frank DFL Y
61B Thissen Paul DFL N
62A Clark Karen DFL N
62B Allen Susan DFL Y
63A Davnie Jim DFL N
63B Wagenius Jean DFL N
64A Murphy Erin DFL N
64B Pinto Dave DFL N
65A Moran Rena DFL N
65B Mariani Carlos DFL N
66A Hausman Alice DFL Y
66B Lesch John DFL N
67A Mahoney Tim DFL N
67B Johnson Sheldon DFL N

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About the author

Andrew is just a guy that likes beer. You can usually find him on the twitters or spending time with his family.