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Small Breweries and Distilleries One Step Closer To Liquor Law Changes

Updated: 03/19/2014 10:59 PM
Created: 03/19/2014 2:12 PM WDIO.com
By: Laurie Stribling
lstribling@wdio.com

Liquor law changes take another step forward Wednesday during a Senate committee hearing in St. Paul.

Several bills were approved to possibly be added to a larger liquor bill. Potential changes for microbreweries include tap room sales and growler sales on Sunday. Microdistillery laws would also be expanded to allow a cocktail room, self-distribution and bottle sale on site.

A couple companies in Duluth weighed in on the possible benefits.

"If we can provide people with a cocktail and a tour and at the end sell them a bottle, it's going to be enormously beneficial to us," Joel Vikre, owner of Vikre Distillery, said.

Vikre Distillery has a storefront in Canal Park. While he said he loves working with his distributors and retailers, he pays them more than he makes on every bottle sold.

The tap room and growler bills were authored by Duluth's Roger Reinert. He said the changes would be a small step in the right direction towards Sunday liquor sales.

"If we want to help these small businesses, as many of us do, the best way to do that is some of these in-house sales," Reinert said.

Assistant General Manager Emily Mereness heads up Canal Park Brewing Company in Duluth. She said selling growlers on Sunday would mean a boost in business.

"We are open and functioning on Sunday, every Sunday," Mereness said. "So, it's unfortunate to have something we can sell every other day of the week except for Sunday."

A hearing on the inclusive liquor bill will most likely take place in the next couple weeks.

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