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RELEASE: Rep. Olson votes to make overdue reforms to Minnesota liquor laws

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House approved a bill with a series of reforms to modernize the state’s liquor laws. Rep. Liz Olson (DFL – Duluth) has championed several initiatives to support Minnesota’s emerging craft beer and spirits industries and proudly supported the bill on the House Floor.

“Minnesota’s craft beverage industries have exploded in recent years, but due to outdated, arbitrary laws, they’ve experienced growing pains. The current legal framework creates a system of haves and have-nots, with massive legacy producers and brands able to successfully freeze out competition,” Rep. Olson said. “I’m grateful to producers, retailers, wholesalers, and others interested in this issue for coming to the table to develop a reasonable compromise we can all support. Above all though, these changes reflect the will of consumers and their changing tastes and desire to purchase more locally produced beverages while supporting an industry with potential for further innovation and growth in communities like Duluth.”

Under the bill, small breweries will be able to sell more products directly to consumers, including six- and four-packs of beer. The bill allows micro-distilleries to sell spirits in larger 750ml quantities and allows more distilleries to operate cocktail rooms. Currently, breweries including Castle Danger, Surly, Summit, Schell’s, and Fulton are prohibited from selling growlers to-go from their taprooms because they produce more than 20,000 barrels annually. The legislation increases this cap to 150,000.

Among other provisions, the bill also:

  • Allows municipalities to issue on-sale wine or beer licenses to town baseball teams 
  • Allows liquor stores to sell limes and glassware
  • Allows municipalities the option to issue special on-sale liquor licenses to permit sales during live men’s and women’s World Cup soccer telecasts
  • Establishes a tax structure for out of state direct wine shippers
  • Clarifies definitions of beer and sake
  • Allows county fairs to sell liquor – if approved by a municipality – for up to seven days

The bill now returns to the Senate – which passed it on May 5 – where Senators will either adopt the House’s version or appoint a conference committee charged with reaching an agreement on each chamber’s differences.