Minnesota breweries celebrate new liquor law

Large and small breweries across Minnesota are celebrating a new liquor law.

On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan ceremonially signed and celebrated the “Free the Growler” bill at Alloy Brewing Company in Coon Rapids.

The bill reforms Minnesota’s liquor laws after it rode an overwhelming wave of support through the Legislature.

The measure, nicknamed the “Free the Growler” bill, raises the annual cap on craft beer production from 20,000 barrels to 150,000 barrels, allowing some of the state’s biggest breweries to sell beer in to-go containers on site.

The law also lets breweries sell beer on-site in smaller containers, meaning they can opt to sell cans in four-packs or six-packs instead of 32-ounce cans or growlers.

“For us, it’s going to benefit quite a bit,” Don Anderson, owner of Fat Pants Brewing Company in Eden Prairie, said. “We will be able to sell smaller packaged cans, the 16- and 12-ounce cans in four- and six-packs. It will definitely make Minnesota more on plane with other states’ offer in terms of liquor laws.”

Minnesota’s six largest breweries — Surly, Summit, Lift Bridge, Fulton, Schell’s and Castle Danger — have long lobbied for expanded sale options.

“The pandemic has pushed us to think creatively when it comes to the food and beverage industry, and this bill provides more opportunities for these businesses to thrive,” Walz said in a statement. “This bill is one way we can support Minnesota’s local breweries and distilleries.”

The new law also removes the state’s limit on cocktail rooms, which will allow all distilleries to serve liquor on-site.

Additionally, the law extends hours for alcohol sales during the FIFA World Cup, lets cities and counties issue temporary alcohol licenses for special events and creates an “outdoor social district” in Anoka where people can walk between bars with alcoholic drinks.

Click the video box below to watch the ceremonial signing.