Omnibus Liquor Bill Signed by Governor

May 24, 2022

The liquor law creates new licenses that cities could adopt into their licensing ordinances.

Gov. Walz has signed the omnibus liquor bill into law as Chapter 86 of the 2022 regular session. The legislation, championed by Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls) and Rep. Zack Stephenson (DFL-Coon Rapids), creates several new licenses that cities could adopt into their ordinances.

Provisions of interest to cities

There are several provisions in the bill that would allow cities to amend their ordinances for the new liquor licenses, including:

  • Allowing 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.
  • Allowing growler sales by breweries that produce as many as 150,000 barrels annually, up from the previous limit of 20,000 barrels.
  • Allowing 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.
  • Allowing a municipality to issue the holder of a microdistillery license or distilled spirits manufacturer license a microdistillery or distilled spirits manufacturer cocktail license.
  • Allowing a municipality to issue an on-sale intoxicating liquor license to resorts as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 157.15, subdivision 11.
  • Allowing a municipality to issue one seven-day temporary license per year to a county agricultural society for alcoholic beverage sales at a county fair.
  • Allowing a municipality to issue special permits for service of alcohol through extended hours associated with the FIFA Women’s World Cup competition and FIFA World Cup competition.

With industry momentum behind the law, there might be pressure for cities to amend their ordinances quickly for the new licenses. The League encourages cities with producers to review their existing ordinances to determine how they may need to amend them.

Growler sales to see two significant changes

Under current law, a brewer that produces up to 20,000 barrels a year can get a city license to sell 750 of those barrels in growlers. Under the new law, a brewer that produces up to 7,500 barrels a year may seek a new, additional license from the city to sell off-sale 128 ounces per person per day in regulation packaging.

Additionally, the 20,000-barrel limit on who may sell growlers increases under the new law to 150,000, so cities may get requests for licenses to sell growlers from much larger breweries.

Sample ordinance language for off-sale of 128 ounces

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 proposed in the bill’s 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.

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. The law does not include a prior provision that would have established a liquor advisory council to provide recommendations to the Legislature.

For more background information about this bill, read a previous article.

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