Minnesota’s arcane liquor laws force Tattersal Distilling to move to Wisconsin

Today, Tattersall Distillery, one of the jewels in the crown of Minnesota’s craft distilling industry, announced:

“We are BEYOND excited to announce our plans to open a destination distillery and second production facility in…

Wait for it…

…River Falls, Wisconsin”

That is disappointing. Tattersall currently operates in Minneapolis, producing and retailing there in a swish cocktail room. But our state’s arcane liquor laws are not conducive to a thriving distilling industry in Minnesota (though they are doing wonders for the industry in Wisconsin). As Tattersall explained in a Facebook post:

“As much as we would have loved to build a second facility in Minnesota, our state’s restrictive liquor laws forced us to look beyond our borders. (Basically if we surpassed the state’s current production limits, which we’re on track to do, we would have had to shut down the cocktail room — and there’s no way we were going to do that). Despite efforts by us and all our friends in the Minnesota Distillers Guild over the past four years, the law has remained unchanged.”

I’ve written before about how Minnesota’s liquor laws are throttling its distilleries. They can’t sell full-sized bottles, just one 375 ml (half-bottle) per customer per day. And when a distillery hits production of 40,000 proof gallons annually, as Tattersall has, they either have to stop expanding or close their cocktail room (and they can’t even sell the half-bottles to guests.) 

Or move to Wisconsin. Minnesota Monthly reports:

“The River Falls project does look awesome. 75,000 square feet. Full-service restaurant and cocktail bar to seat 150. Outdoor patio with fire pits and lawn games to seat 250. Large amphitheater for concerts and wedding ceremonies. Ballroom event space for up to 420. Retail market to sell all sizes, mixes, clothing, etc. Sustainability measures like a 400kW solar array being installed on the roof. A water reclamation system will recycle water. Don’t you wish this were in Minneapolis?”

I do. The cocktail room in northeast Minneapolis isn’t shutting down and a small amount of production will remain there to supply it. Still, Minneapolis losing out to River Falls?  

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment.