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ST. PAUL – Beer fans may want to raise a toast to a bill Rep. Jenifer Loon is brewing.
The Eden Prairie Republican has authored a bill which would allow microbreweries in the state to open on-site taprooms where they could hold tasting events and sell their own beer. This would create new jobs, boost the hospitality industry and provide a whole new arena for Minnesota’s entrepreneurs.
“The vision is to create destination breweries to attract beer lovers from Minnesota and across the country,” Loon said. “Microbreweries could add things like restaurants and even event centers where people could gather and socialize while sipping a Minnesota beer. This is already happening in places like Oregon, Colorado, Washington and California and it is time for us to bring similar business activity to our state.”
Loon said her bill would aid microbreweries such as Brooklyn Center-based Surly Brewing Company, which would like to build a new $20 million facility and expand its operation. This project – and others like it – would result in an untold number of new jobs in Minnesota. There would be new construction jobs and Surly estimates it would employee 150 new employees. Countless manufacturing and hospitality-related entities also would receive a boost in business.
Surly has been Exhibit A for Loon’s bill, but other local entrepreneurs are joining the effort. Fulton Brewery is shaping plans to open shop near Target Field and bring a new entertainment feature to that part of downtown Minneapolis. Loon said several other area breweries have gotten on board with her initiative as well, including Lift Bridge, Summit and Schell’s.
“This is a booming part of the hospitality industry and it meshes perfectly with our mission to eliminate outdated regulations so our entrepreneurs can thrive and create new jobs,” Loon said. “These are the kinds of people who will lead us out of our recession and we need to do all we can to encourage them.”
Loon’s bill recently received support from a House committee and has been laid over for possible inclusion in a forthcoming omnibus liquor bill.
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