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Minnesota Microdistilleries Push for a More Even Playing Field

The Minnesota Distiller’s Guild continues their years-long struggle for deregulation in Minnesota with the introduction of their newest bill, H.F. 3246, to the state legislature. The bill, which was introduced to the House on the 13th and is set to hit the Senate in the net few days is twofold:

Firstly, the Guild wants to redefine the definition of “Microdistilleries” from an institution which produces up to 40,000 proof gallons per annum to 100,000.

Secondly, they wish to allow distilleries with a lower product volume (40,000 proof gallons per year under the new definition) to obtain off-sale licenses which allow for the sale of up to 4.5 liters/person/day instead of the current single .375 liter bottle/person/day.

According to a recent analysis of liquor sale legislation nationwide done by by the Minnesota Distiller’s Guild, Minnesota has the 4th lowest bottle sales in the nation with their single 375mL bottle. Looking at the chart, their proposed amendment of 4.5L per person per day would still put Minnesota in the bottom half of the country, well below the 20 states who have no cap whatsoever.

Similarly, Minnesota has the 11th lowest cap on production for microdistilleries. Again, their proposed increase to 100,000 proof gallons still leaves them well behind half of the nation.

The state of Minnesota liquor laws puts Minnesota distillers at a disadvantage from the very beginning, and these bills would represent a step in the right direction in giving hardworking Minnesotan entrepreneurs a fighting chance in this industry.

Jared Miller is an economic research intern at Center of the American Experiment and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis.  He is from Waconia and plans to continue his education in the field of Economics.

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