Deal at the Capitol to ‘free the growler’

Growlers and pints
Legislators have agreed on a bill that would allow larger craft breweries in Minnesota to sell growlers. 
John Heller for MPR News

Legislators have agreed on a bill that would allow larger craft breweries in Minnesota to sell growlers. 

It also allows craft distilleries to sell up to 750 milliliters of liquor per day to customers, twice what they can sell now, and to operate cocktail rooms on their premises. 

“I think it is a big win for our small breweries,” said Sen. Karin Housley, R-Stillwater. We've been fighting for almost eight years to free the growler."

The compromise bill authorizes brewers who produce up to 150,000 barrels of beer per year to sell up to 128 ounces of beer per customer per day. The current cap is 20,000 barrels. 

The bill also allows for special permits that would let establishments serve alcohol for extended hours during World Cup soccer games. 

Craft brewers have argued that the cap on growler sales is unfair to some of the state’s best known beer makers – Surly, Summit, Lift Bridge, Fulton, Schell’s and Castle Danger — that can’t currently sell growlers because they exceed the 20,000-barrel production limit.

Some have said the cap led them to expand outside of Minnesota.

The bill cleared a conference committee unanimously Thursday, and needs votes in the House and Senate to make it Gov. Tim Walz’s desk. 

“This is a great bill, and I think we can be very happy on it,” said Rep. Zack Stephenson, DFL-Coon Rapids, who sponsored the bill in the House. 

Your support makes a difference.

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.