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Surly Brewing Suspends 'Darkness Day' Due To Minnesota Law Banning Take-Home Beer Sales

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Part of craft beer culture is collecting limited-release bottles and attending beer launches.

However, the biggest breweries in Minnesota are not able to be part of that culture because they're too big. The law doesn't allow brewery giants like Surly Brewing Company to sell beer to take home.

"I think with the guests coming in, I think they should be able to leave with something other than just drinking beer at the site," Surly customer Ian Stanford said.

Surly founder Omar Ansari started Darkness Day back in 2007 to celebrate the launch of its Russian Imperial Stout, and the tradition has continued, with stout fans collecting limited-release growlers every year.

Beer Craft Beer Generic
(credit: CBS)

But the law prevents breweries from selling bottles and cans, once they sell 20,000 barrels of beer.

"Unless that law changes, that everyone can sell growlers, we can't have Darkness Day in Minnesota," Ansari said.

The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild helped draft a new bill allowing all state breweries to sell take-home beer in bottles or cans from 12 to 64 ounces. Executive Director Lauren Bennet McGinty says the current law favors independent liquor stores, where people can buy those special brews. But she says the guild believes the new bill won't hurt anyone.

"Really give the customers what they want," Bennet McGinty said. "What we want to do is just give breweries a little bit more access because the market is super crowded and it's grown a lot."

The guild plans to have the draft of the new bill ready by early next week, and will be gather at the State Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday, March 3 at 1 p.m. to garner legislative support for their bill. Everyone is allowed to attend this rally.

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