Minnesota becomes last state still selling 3.2 percent beer

Updated: October 31, 2019 10:19 PM

Minnesota had been one of only two states still selling 3.2 percent beer.

That changed on Friday when Utah modernized its prohibition-era liquor law to allow the sale of stronger ale, so-called 5 percent alcohol content, in stores.


That move leaves Minnesota as the lone holdout. Right now, 3.2 percent beer is the only type of beer you can buy in the state's grocery stores and gas stations.

At a convenience store in West St. Paul, the writing might be on the walk-up cooler for 3.2.

"It's gross, it's watered down, I don't even know why they created it honestly," said one shopper. A store manager, who didn't want to be identified, said, "it's been a challenged to resupply store shelves with the weaker suds and sales have slowed a lot."

Last call: Utah is set to tap out on low-alcohol beer sales

Jamie Pfuhl with the Minnesota Grocer's Association said some "big manufacturers have discontinued lines or products due to lack of demand for them." Customers seem to prefer the sale of full-strength ale available elsewhere, like at craft breweries or liquor stores.

That's part of the reason why State Senator Karin Housley, of St. Mary's Point, is touting a plan to refresh what she referred to as Minnesota's depression-era liquor laws.

"If you're one of those big beer companies and we're the only state selling 3.2, why would they even want to be in the business of selling 3.2, it's a small, small, small percentage, one-half of one percent of statewide beer sales," Housley said.

Hamida Muhammad, of St. Paul, said when she wants beer she buys the "real stuff" somewhere else.

"We're extremely behind when it comes to selling beer and alcohol, we just got Sunday sales passed," Muhammad said.

Housley believes her proposal, SF1607, would offer another benefit.

"To be able to allow our craft brewers to sell in grocery stores and convenience stores and would also help them grow and create more jobs," said Housley.

Legislators reconvene at the State Capitol in February.

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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