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Twin Cities Craft Brewers Brace For Sunday Growler Sales

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A single pint of beer can often lead to a much bigger sale in the craft brewery business.

The 64-ounce growler allows customers to bring home a sampling of their favorite brew.

For Dane Breimhorst of Burning Brothers Brewing in St. Paul, growlers make up 20 percent his tap room business.

But in Minnesota, customers are cut off from buying a growler on Sundays, until now.

"Tap rooms will be the only locations that you can get beer on Sundays," Breimhorst said.

The St. Paul City Council took action this week on a new state law requiring city approval to sell beer growlers on Sundays.

As a smaller brewery, this new market is expected to lead to a 25-percent boost in sales.

"I think that it's absolutely going to shorten up the Wisconsin beer run. Hopefully, we'll start bringing more of our sales back into the state," he said.

Over in Minneapolis, Jim Diley of Fulton Brewing Company not only sees a new revenue opportunity, but a chance to build customer loyalty.

"For us, and a lot of breweries, the critical part is being able to talk to the person about the beer as they consume it in the brewery it was brewed in," Diley said. "Developing a fan base for your brewery is huge, and that's what it allows us to do on an extra day."

Diley has already upped his growler supply even though the Minneapolis City Council still needs to give the final approval.

"It's not just the breweries that feel the impact of this new law change, it's all the suppliers, locally, that support us," Diley said.

If approved, Minneapolis will begin Sunday growler sales in mid-June. St. Paul is ready to sell growlers in early July.

"We're finally catching up to the rest of the country is what we're doing," Breimhorst said.

Three Minnesota cities allow Sunday growler sales right now. Montgomery and Rochester began tap room beer sales last week. Shakopee begins this Sunday.

Several more cities are expected to follow suit in the coming weeks.

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