Brewpubs: A Viable Business Model in Minnesota?

What is your attitude about the current laws?


PR: “The current Minnesota law isn’t best for Minnesotans – neither for its consumers nor its businesses.  When Minnesota consumers buy beer at the liquor store, their choices are limited. Breweries in other states are taking advantage of Minnesota’s burgeoning craft beer industry.

To encourage the craft beer resurgence, legislators and politicians like to point to the increased number of breweries in their state  or community as an achievement during their tenure.  Unfortunately, they don’t recognize that additional change would encourage even more growth.  Recently, Texas passed a bill allowing Texas brewpubs to sell through licensed wholesalers.  We have asked Minnesota lawmakers to pass a similar bill for the past several years.  Someday someone will substitute reason and logic for politics and the bill will pass here.”

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RK: “Unfortunately, the current brewpub laws limit ideas, which is my main concern. Most folks have no idea that the latest law changes had no effect at all on the brewpub business model.”


TN: “Despite being a bit jittery witnessing startups attaining what we hoped to do years ago, the laws have forced our beer to be uber-local and the freshest beer available on the market. We have control over the quality of our beer from mash-in to glass poured.“


SO: “Frustrated! Minnesota is so far behind the times and other states when it comes to brewpub laws. It is tough to go to a national conference and explain to other out-of-state brewpubs the limitations that we have to deal with.”



Your plans for growth?


JR: “Depending on changes in beer laws, we will either increase production within five years for another Twin Cities location or for small-scale distribution.”


TN: “We plan to open a 50-seat multi-tap beer and cider house in the spring of 2014 on Duluth’s lakefront. Located in the historic 1899 Endion Station train depot, it will use the historic train station theme and will be called the “Endion Station Public House”.


PR: “Under current law, the only way Minnesota brewpubs can grow beer sales is to own more restaurants.  We’re opening another restaurant as we speak — Town Hall Lanes.”


RK: “Because of the current laws, the tied house model is necessary for growth. I do not want limits on my ability to create jobs.”



It was interesting talking to these entrepreneurs. Each one has been a huge part of Minnesota’s beer growth. These breweries are just as eager to grow as production breweries are. It’s important that their voices are heard as well. The opinions expressed were their own. I acknowledge that there is some frustration, and my hope is those of you reading this have a better understanding of why you are obliged to come to us, onsite, to get your beer.

No matter what, we will keep filling growlers and doing the best we can each day.  My opinion is we are all together in this – consumers, brewpubs, and production breweries. We are all about great beer. I  don’t sit at home drinking only the beer I brew. I want access to the great beer everyone brews.

As is my custom, I will close with my favorite beers at the moment from each brewpub.


Barley Johns – Grätzer

Town Hall – Dortmunder Local

Smoke House – Smokehouse Porter, Hot Box

Canal Park – Stoned Surf IPA

Great Waters – Hop On IPA

Fitger’s Brewhouse – Park Point Pils


Thanks for reading.


Please feel free to email me at [email protected] HOOPSBREWING.COM or read my Fitger’s Brewhouse news and beer-centric thoughts at Hoops Brewing on Facebook.

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