Brewery Owners Sound Off Hoping To Make A Change To The Growler Cap Law

"Over 8,000 breweries in the country, we are the only five restricted from selling beer to-go to the consumer. That's crazy we need to make a change," said Lon Larson, the co-owner of Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors.

TWO HARBORS, Minn. – Some of the top beer makers in Minnesota are hoping to bring a change to restrictions preventing the sale of growlers.

“We are actually the only five in the entire country. Over 8,000 breweries in the country, we are the only five restricted from selling beer to-go to the consumer. That’s crazy we need to make a change,” said Lon Larson, the co-owner of Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors.

Minnesota law keeps local breweries from selling to-go growlers if they surpass 20,000 barrels of beer a year.

Brewery owners in Minnesota are continuing to make their voices heard in hopes of bringing a revision to the growler cap law.

Local brewery owners say this law blocks their potential growth.

“It really put us at a competitive disadvantage against breweries around the states because breweries have built businesses and marketing campaigns around selling growlers to people,” said Omar Ansari, the founder of Surly Brewing.

Many believe growlers help drive customers to tourist destinations where many of these breweries reside.

“Everyone loves the Northshore and wants to take a piece of it with them and that is what we want, to continue to give the customer what they want,” said Jaime McFarlane.

Not being allowed to offer this type of to-go option to customers brings a feeling of disappointment.

“What’s frustrating about it is, that’s so much part of the experience of a taproom. It’s part of our growth. It’s a marketing tool that has allowed a brewery in a town of 3,300 people to become the fifth largest in the state, said Larson.

The restriction on growler sales is also creating a big strain on breweries as many bars and restaurants are being impacted by the pandemic.

“We have product right now that is sitting in kegs that were bound for bars and restaurants, that we could be putting in growlers if we could sell them,” said Jim Diley, the owner of Fulton Brewing.

Changing the limitations could also mean a way to rebuild the local economy.

Larson said, “everyone is a winner in selling growlers. It adds tax dollars to the state. I think that’s a good thing at this time in budget crisis.”

A Minnesota senator says it’s important for government leaders to lend a hand.

“We never thought these businesses would grow to over 20,000 barrels a year. That’s pretty amazing growth and it just shows how popular they are and how they bring economic vitality to the community,” said Senator Sandy Pappas. “We should all be about helping these small businesses grow and support their community.”

Pappas also believes the change would have to be a mutual agreement.

“I think we all are about compromise in government. I think being able to raise the cap to a higher number, maybe 250,000 barrels.”

Brewery owners say they just want what makes the most sense.

“This is common sense, people understand the idea of taking a growler home,” said Diley.

 

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