Frustration Bubbles Over for Brewers Denied Sunday Sales

Updated: 05/11/2014 10:25 PM
Created: 05/11/2014 6:10 PM
By: Travis Dill

Breweries in Minnesota have been growling for the chance to send beer home with customers on Sundays. Lawmakers denied that change last week, and a Duluth brewery is bubbling over with frustration.

A Sunday ban on liquor sales means growlers of craft beer just sit in the fridge at the Canal Park Brewing Company, but Assistant General Manager Emily Mereness said tourists want a taste to go, even on Sundays.

“They spend the weekend kind of trying out different breweries, trying different beers. Then, they come in on Sunday before they want to go home, and they want to bring something home with them. And we have to turn them down, and that's a huge disappointment,” Mereness said.

She said missing those sales hurts the success the company is fermenting.

“That number, day after day, week after week, adds up. I mean that's jobs. That's our ability to add to our staff,” Mereness said.

Brewers at the Thirsty Pagan said the Minnesota ban sends business over the bridge to Superior.

“Obviously growler sales on Sunday aren't available in Minnesota so it's an advantage for us, but 80 percent of our sales come from Minnesota on Sunday so that's a huge number,” Assistant Brewer Jeredt Runions said.

But he said the craft beer community is tight knit. They are so close he supports Sunday growler sales in Minnesota.

“It's just an advantage, you know, kind of spread the wealth around. There's enough beer around here to supply a lot of people,” Runions said.

He said worries that growler sales would lead to Sunday liquor sales are misplaced.

“It's different than your domestic beer or your liquor sales, hard liquor sales, so this is kind of a small little niche that we have here so we don't see that crossing over,” Runion said.

Brewers called Sunday growler sales common sense, but they will have to wait until next year to tap the legislature again.

“We still have hope though. We still hope we'll get there,” Mereness said.

The House and Senate did pass a liquor bill last week, but Sunday growler sales were removed from the bill beforehand.

The bill headed for Governor Mark Dayton's desk allows later bar hours during baseball's All-Star Game, a continuation of beer sales at University of Minnesota football games and grants other liquor licenses around the state.

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