Minnesota inches closer to passing a bill allowing restaurants to sell alcohol to-go

On Thursday, April 16, the Minnesota Senate passed legislation that would allow restaurants with liquor licenses to sell alcohol to-go. The House is yet to vote today on the bill before it’s sent to Governor Walz who has indicated support for the bill.

Given how much restaurants have suffered due to the pandemic-related, restrictions, this is a good development. If passed, this bill will be a big step in ensuring businesses gain some edge on recovering what would otherwise be lost business.

Over the past couple of weeks, people and certain groups have signed petitions asking Governor Walz to consider making temporary amendments to Minnesota liquor licensing laws. The petitions have garnered so much support meaning that if the amendment passes, it will be welcomed by consumers. There is definitely a good chance the bill will pass in the house as indicated by House speaker Melissa Hortman.

What’s in the bill?

The Minnesota bill includes provisions allowing restaurants to sell malt liquor and wine with take-out food orders subject to the following limitations;

(1) any sale of malt liquor and wine is made in conjunction with and is incidental to the sale of prepared food for take-out

(2) the alcoholic beverages are sold in their original, unopened packaging;

(3) no more than 72 ounces in total of malt liquor, hard seltzer, and cider; and 750 milliliters of wine may be sold per prepared food take-out order;

(4) the qualifying licensee must confirm that the person picking up the prepared food take-out order is at least 21 years of age as provided by Minnesota Statutes,section 340A.503, subdivision 6; and

(5) the qualifying licensee must notify the insurer providing the coverage required by Minnesota Statutes, section 340A.409, that it is making off-sales under this section.

All licensees must follow any other rules regarding off-sale liquor consistent with the bill. Additionally, the bill does not authorize delivery of alcoholic beverages and is set to expire when the closure of restaurants also expires or if any other subsequent order terminates it.