Support the Drink Local Economic Recovery Act

The Minnesota House Commerce Finance Policy committee is currently deciding which of 26 proposed liquor bills will be included in an omnibus package to go to a vote. These decisions come at a crucial time for Minnesota’s brewers and distillers. As The Minnesota Daily reports:

An University of Minnesota Extension study published in April found that COVID-19 caused an 18% drop in craft breweries’ economic activity, a large blow to an industry in “high-growth mode.”

Local breweries reported major layoffs at the start of the pandemic and some said they rehired only a handful of their original employees. According to the study, the brewing industry experienced about 10% job loss.

Pete Rifakes owns Town Hall Brewing in Cedar-Riverside along with three other brewpubs and a cocktail lounge that opened this year. He said without government support during the pandemic, his businesses likely would not have reopened.

Now, minimum wage increases and the nationwide labor shortage are a challenge as Rifakes struggles to hire.

“I think the biggest thing currently today is finding qualified people,” Rifakes said. “And that’s been very difficult.”

American Experiment has long argued that state policymakers should:

  • Cut state alcohol excise taxes
  • Remove the ‘Growler Cap’ and limits on distillery sales and
  • Free breweries and distilleries to sell in vessel sizes of their own choosing

These recommendations are substantially embodied in the Drink Local Economic Recovery Act. As I wrote last year, this will:

  • Allow all breweries to sell beer to-go in cans, bottles, and growlers up to 64oz, with a per person/day purchase limit of 768oz (and an annual limit of 750 bbls)
  • Allow brewpubs to distribute up to 200 barrels of their own product
  • Allow cideries to have more access to the market through up to 75,000 gallons of self-distribution
  • Create more standard taxation for cideries/wineries to align with federal statute
  • Allow distilleries to sell up to 1.5 liters per person/day
  • Allow bars and restaurants to permanently sell limited amounts of beer (72oz), wine (1 bottle), and cocktails (34oz) to go with take-out orders
  • Allow liquor stores & bars/restaurant to fill growlers

Minnesota’s breweries, distilleries, and wineries are not asking for government hand outs. They are simply asking for government to remove outdated legislation which exists to protect insiders so that they can continue to flourish even in these hard times. If you believe in a free market and the American Dream, you should support the #DrinkLocalMN bill.

Click here to ask your legislators for support.