As many of you know, the proposed bill that would allow for Sunday growler sales in Minnesota has stalled as a result of opposition by the Teamsters Union.
The bill was actually on the brink of passing with successful bipartisan support and support of the MLBA (Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association). At the last minute the union that represents drivers, chauffeurs, and warehouse workers came out against it.
Growler sales depend on foot traffic from consumers. Growlers are not warehoused or delivered, so why the opposition? As Badger Colish, Brewmaster at Canal Park Brewing Company states, “ We are desperately trying to understand why a DFL-sponsored bill with bipartisan support is being held up by DFL who sponsored it.”
The Teamsters argue that allowing Sunday growler sales would result in potential changes to their labor contracts, which seems like a giant non sequitur.
For small breweries and brewpubs, growler sales are crucial. “We bare the burdens of operational costs 7 days a week but one of our key avenues of revenue generation, growler sales, is impeded by 1/7th,” says Colish.
Just as in the case of general liquor sales in Minnesota, revenue is being lost to Wisconsin, especially for brewpubs in Duluth, where Superior is just across a bridge.
If this bill does not pass, which seems to be a significant possibility, it significantly undercuts business from alcohol tourism statewide. Sunday is a huge travel day, one on which people would otherwise purchase beer to take home.
This has happened to me personally, and I know it has happened to many of you.
Dustin Brau has also been vocal on this issue, indicating how important growler sales are for his business: “For Brau Brothers, as an out-state brewery, this bill is important because it helps us promote and sell our beer to those traveling on the weekend, many of whom are not regularly able to visit. The bill truly, and with minimal effort, helps develop beer tourism which in tandem with other attractions in the area, can only assist in drawing more people to Southwest Minnesota.”
Please consider contacting your congresspeople and urging them to pass the bill. Check out who represents you and leave a message – the representatives are currently on break.
Minnesotans are very outspoken on this issue and the bill has received considerable support. But this last-minute opposition is very likely to prevent the legislation from passing. Please don’t leave this to other people, take your own action! For more information, see Tevlin’s Star Tribune article, and MNbeer.