May 31, 2022 - Food and Drink

"Free the growler": Minnesota relaxes brewery sale laws

Illustration of a pattern of beer taps.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Minnesotans heading to a brewery or distillery this week have more options for buying booze to-go.

What's new: A new law relaxing restrictions for on-site sales took effect last week after a compromise measure was approved by the Legislature in the final days of the regular session and signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz.

Details: Under the law, small craft breweries can sell four- and six-packs of their beer directly from the taproom. More distilleries can now have cocktail tasting rooms and "microdistilleries" can sell up to 750ml of spirits for off-site consumption.

  • A "growler cap" that prevented a number of larger breweries, such as the North Shore's Castle Danger, from selling to-go containers was also raised to exempt all producers selling less than 150,000 barrels a year.

Plus: You won't have to stop at the grocery store to get lemons and limes for cocktail hour β€” liquor stores can now sell citrus and glassware.

  • The bill also greenlights special licenses for bars hosting early-morning World Cup viewings and allows the creation of a "social district" in Anoka, where open containers are allowed outside between restaurants and bars.

Between the lines: Updating Minnesota's liquor laws is notoriously difficult because of an informal "peace in the valley" agreement among legislative leaders to only pass changes that all key players in the local liquor industry support.


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