The Minnesota Senate today passed the omnibus liquor bill, which includes the sale of growlers from breweries and brewpubs on Sundays, but an amendment aimed at allowing Sunday off-sale liquor sales from retail locations failed to pass by a vote of 28 to 35, according to a joint press release from the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association, Minnesota Beer Wholesalers Association and Teamsters Joint Council 32.
The omnibus liquor bill was approved by a wide margin and also includes provisions that:
- Allow local licensing authorities to permit microdistilleries to sell one 375ml bottle of their products on site per day, per customer;
- Allow bars and restaurants to begin selling alcohol at 8 am on Sundays (as opposed to the current time of 10 am); and
- Allow brewpubs to sell their beer at the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild stand at the Minnesota State Fair.
The groups opposed to Sunday liquor sales said in a press release that the defeat of the amendment preserves a system that works well and doesn’t need to be changed.
“I think Minnesotans support their small, local businesses and do not want to weaken our alcohol regulations,” Kim Wilson, owner of Oaks Wine and Spirits in Oak Park Heights said in a press release. “The issue of allowing liquor stores to open on any day of the year sounds simple on the surface, but it’s not. There would be an enormous negative impact to both the off-sale and on-sale industries, which have been operating and making business decisions under the established rules for a long time. For example, 127 liquor stores closed in Colorado after they institutedSunday off-sale. It’s the sad truth.”
Minnesota Beer Activists Director Andrew Schmitt said he wasn’t entirely surprised by the Senate’s defeat of the Sunday sales amendment and expressed encouragement at the margin of defeat, which is closer than in past years.
“It’s nice to see progress on the issue and I expect to see more progress at the House,” Schmitt said.
The Minnesota House of Representatives is expected to debate its version of the omnibus liquor bill in the coming weeks. The bill contains many of the same provisions as the Senate bill but does not include a Sunday sales provision, though an amendment could be offered up by a legislator similar to what was done in the Senate.
Below is a complete list of the votes on the Senate Sunday sales amendment via the Pioneer Press: