REP. NASH INTRODUCES BILL TO FREE THE GROWLER
Five craft breweries in the country can't sell Growlers, all in Minnesota
ST. PAUL – On Thursday, Representative Jim Nash, R-Waconia, held a press conference with the five craft breweries in Minnesota who are affected by the "growler threshold" in Minnesota law to announce the introduction of a proposal to #FreeTheGrowler. The bill, HF1050, will remove the 20,000 barrel threshold currently in law that stops any craft brewer that produces more than 20,000 barrels from selling growlers. Minnesota is the only state in the country where craft breweries are not able to sell beer to go.
"It's finally time to 'Free the Growler' and stop punishing five successful breweries in our state while removing a hurdle many growing breweries may face in the coming years," said Rep, Jim Nash, author of the proposal to remove the growler cap in the Minnesota House. "Beer is bipartisan and we will have bipartisan support on our proposal in the House and Senate. We need lawmakers to overcome the resistance to change that has kept Minnesota's liquor laws stuck in the 1940s."
In the past two months, Rep. Nash toured three of the five breweries harmed by the growler cap: Lift Bridge Brewery in Stillwater, Schell's Brewery in New Ulm, and Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors.
Rep. Nash continued, "Minnesota brewers have been put at a disadvantage with their counterparts in other states. The ability to sell growlers gives brewers an idea of what customers want and allows brewers to test and innovate. Some of the most well known beers from our state – from Schell's Grain Belt Nordeast to Surly Darkness or Todd the Axe Man to name a few – were invested in and made in great quantities due to their copious growler sales. Now we can buy these beers at liquor stores across our state and others. Right now, the creativity of these brewers is hampered by an inability to sell growlers. We need to Free the Growler and end the stifling of creativity of these great small businesses."
Lawmakers originally set this growler cap limit in 2013 and told brewers to return to the Capitol when the limit needed to be raised again. Of the 8,000+ breweries in the United States, only five are unable to sell beer to go, and all five are in Minnesota. There is already a rule in place that limits total growler sales to 750 barrels a year, to protect retailers from being affected.