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Lawmakers Reach Deal To Raise The 'Growler Cap', Allow Breweries To Sell 6-Packs To Go

Originally published May 19

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) -- Lawmakers in the Minnesota House and Senate reached an agreement to change state liquor laws to allow small breweries and distilleries more options in selling their beer and spirits directly to customers.

In a statement Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) said that members of the legislature's conference committee came to a deal on the proposed changes.

"The stakeholders and Committee Chairs worked very hard to find agreement, and I am glad they finalized their bill today," Miller said.

The bipartisan legislation would make a number of changes to current liquor laws, although not all stakeholders will get what they've been pushing for this session. Among the changes are:

-- raising the "growler cap" from 20,000 to 150,000 barrels, ensuring large breweries (such as Surly, Summit and Castle Danger Brewing) can sell growlers on site
-- allowing small breweries to sell up to 128 ounces of beer per customer per day in any approved container (note: a six-pack contains 72 ounces)
-- allowing spirit manufacturers to sell cocktails and operate a cocktail room
-- and allowing wineries to self-distribute apple-based ciders up to 2,500 barrel a year.

Last week, a similar proposal was passed in the Minnesota House, however that bill also included language that would create a liquor advisory council made up of members representing stakeholder groups, such as liquor stores, breweries, distilleries, and wholesalers.

That advisory council language was not included in the agreement reached Thursday. Still, other items were covered in the new bill, including special permits for serving alcohol through extended hours during the FIFA World Cup and allowing liquor stores to sell fruit and glassware.

The new bill will return to both chambers for a vote. If passed, the legislation will head to Gov. Tim Walz's desk.

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