Focus on New Laws: Liquor Licensing Changes

May 31, 2022

Cities should be aware of changes to existing liquor licensing laws and newly authorized liquor licenses.

The 2022 Legislature passed a new law (Chapter 86) that makes changes to liquor licenses and rules. It was signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz and went into effect on May 23.

Distiller license changes

Minnesota Statutes, section 340A.22, subdivision 2 now allows a municipality to issue a cocktail room license to the holder of a distilled spirits manufacturer license. This authorizes on-sale of distilled liquor produced by the distiller for consumption on the premises of or adjacent to one distillery location owned by the distiller.

Under this new authorization, a municipality must notify the commissioner within 10 days of issuance or of any adverse action involving the license, just as it would a microdistillery cocktail room license. This provision also changes the amount for cities’ microdistillery off-sale licenses from 375 milliliters to up to 750 milliliters per customer per day in any size container or combination of approved containers.

Growler sales expanded to larger breweries

Under previous law, a brewer that produced up to 20,000 barrels a year could request a city license to sell 750 of those barrels in growlers. The new law raised the 20,000-barrel limit in Minnesota Statutes, section 340A.28 to 150,000, so cities may get requests for licenses to sell growlers from much larger breweries.

Small brewer off-sale of 128 ounces

Minnesota Statutes, section 340A.29 now allows a brewer licensed under Minnesota Statutes, section 340A.301 that produces 7,500 barrels or less of malt liquor annually to be issued a license by a municipality for off-sale of up to 128 ounces per customer per day in any packaging conforming to state and federal regulation.

Cities that wish to allow a license for off-sale of up to 128 ounces per customer per day for breweries that produce 7,500 barrels or less annually could take an existing ordinance that reflects Minnesota Statutes, section 340A.28 and modify it to reflect the new language in section 340A.29 similar to the following:

Brewer off-sale malt liquor licenses may also be issued, with approval of the commissioner, to a holder of a brewer’s license under Minn. Stat. § 340A.301, subd. 6(c), (i) or (j) and meeting the criteria established by Minn. Stat. § 340A.29 as may be amended from time to time. The amount of malt liquor sold at off-sale under this license may not exceed 128 ounces per customer per day. Off-sale of malt liquor shall be limited to the legal hours for off-sale at exclusive liquor stores in the jurisdiction in which the brewer is located, and the malt liquor sold off-sale must be removed from the premises before the applicable off-sale closing time at exclusive liquor stores. Packaging of malt liquor for off-sale under this license must comply with the provisions of Minnesota Rules, parts 7515.1080 to 7515.1120.

Interested small brewers will need to apply for the new small brewer off-sale license through their local jurisdiction. The issuing authority must then return the completed application to the Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division so that they may enter the license into the statewide liquor license database.

Expanding authorized establishments to receive on-sale licenses

Minnesota Statutes, section 340A.404, subdivision 1 now allows a city to issue on-sale intoxicating liquor licenses to “resorts,” as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 157.15, subdivision 11. The statute also now allows a municipality to issue an on-sale wine and an on-sale malt liquor license to a baseball team competing in a league established by the Minnesota Baseball Association, or to a person holding a concessions or management contract for beverage sales at a ballpark for the purposes of summer town ball games.

Elimination of 30-day temporary license restriction

Minnesota Statutes, section 340A.410, subdivision 10 no longer restricts a municipality over population 5,000 from issuing more than one temporary license authorized under Minnesota Statutes, section 340A.404, subdivision 10 for any one organization or political committee, or for any one location within a 30-day period. The removal of this language has no impact for cities under 5,000 population.

Seven-day temporary license created for county fairs

Minnesota Statutes, section 340A.410, subdivision 10 allows a municipality to issue one seven-day temporary license per year to a county agricultural society established under Minnesota Statutes, section 38.01 for alcoholic beverage sales at a county fair.

Extended hours for FIFA World Cup

The new law authorizes a licensing jurisdiction to issue special permits for service of alcohol during extended hours. The permit authorizes the sale of alcoholic beverages 30 minutes before, during, and 30 minutes after a scheduled broadcast of a live World Cup match. Only holders of an existing on-sale intoxicating liquor license or 3.2% malt liquor license are eligible for the extended hours. This new authorization expires on Sept. 1, 2023.

Other provisions of the law

The new law includes special liquor provisions for the cities of Willmar, Sauk Rapids, St. Paul, St. Cloud, Anoka, Rochester, and Alexandria.

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