Proposed Bills to Loosen MN Liquor Sales

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DULUTH - Every Sunday Canal Park Brewery's cooler and Fitger's Brewhouse Beer Store are locked and closed for business. "You can have a pint here but we can't fill your growler and let you leave with it because it's Sunday," Fitger’s Brewhouse Minister of Culture and Propaganda Brad Nelson said.

Change for that archaic law could soon be on the way.

Baby step bills are making headway at the capitol that would allow taprooms to be open and growlers to be sold on Sundays.

"A good step,” Canal Park Brewing Company Brewmaster Badger Colish said. “Helps a small portion of a larger industry right now."

Growlers don't hold a ton of beer, but their sales count for a lot.

"In our business growler sales can account for up to 30% of your beer volume, so it's significant," said Nelson.

Not being able to sell growlers one day out of the week takes away 1/7 of brewpubs avenues to generate revenue.

"It's a tough business. The margins are slim,” said Colish. “When you take away one resource it makes it even harder."

Three million people visit the area every year.

Not allowing them to sip Duluth’s craft beer in a tap room or take the local brew home with them on Sundays strips away loads of potential profit.

Selling growlers on Sundays could bring in at least $25,000 a year.

"So that's money that we're going to be able to trap and keep in our community," said Nelson.

But it's about more than the money.

An out of towner heading back with a growler to Canada or any of the bordering cities and states is priceless advertising for Duluth and it's local brewpubs.

"It's the only way we as a brewpub have to extend outside of our doors is word of mouth and their wanting to do that," said Colish.

The proposed bills will go now go to the House.

If they are ultimately approved the bills could go into effect as soon as May.