News & Updates

Brewery & Brewpub Legislation: Are You Aware?

This one seems to be hitting people by surprise, so Minnesota breweries and brewpubs take note:


Relating to liquor; modifying the regulations of off-sales by brewpubs and small brewers; permitting breweries to provide samples of products on premises to individuals touring the brewery

If I read it correctly, it’s a modification to our “growler” law in Minnesota that would allow brewpubs to sell their beer in 750ml bottles as well. I don’t really think that this is the best language (I’d rather see a range set by volume of liquid, if anything), but it might be a nice possibility for Minnesota brewpubs.

On the other hand, I’m not so sure about the following addition:

(c) A brewer may provide samples of its own products on its premises to persons touring the brewery in a quantity of less than 100 milliliters of malt liquor per variety per person.

As you probably know, people have been sampling beer at breweries for decades. And while our Minnesota breweries no longer give out samples in the quantities that Grain Belt did in the old days, I have to wonder if we really need to legislate things in this manner… Local breweries do a good job self-regulating their sampling as it is… the same would go for Minnesota wineries. I guess I’m a little confused about the necessity to add this last line to the legislation.

In any case, I talked to a couple of brewers who knew nothing about the bill, and I expect it’ll come as a bit of a surprise to most people in the Minnesota brewing community. Senator Bakk told me that the request came from one of his constituents in Two Harbors. And though I won’t name names, I’m curious as to whether or not there’s something brewing (brewpub? brewery?) up in Two Harbors.

Anyway, keep your eye on this, and share your two cents with your representatives on this bill. Thanks to Eric for the tip.


  1. David Berg says:

    Yep, never assume the people writing the laws know what they state in the first place. There was previously no provision for breweries giving out samples (the 100 ml thing was for retailers). So, whomever came up with this bill has just limited his serving size to 100 ml, when in fact there was nothing prohibiting it from the beginning. The whole thing is messy. Wish they would have talked to someone first.

  2. Jeff B. says:

    Random notes:

    Those 750 ml bottles can’t only be capped.

    The 100 ml brewery limitation was in a bill last year here:
    but it seems to have been removed but I can’t tell why.

    The 100 ml provision was in the bill the year before, too.

    Each year the bill seems to have been offered by different people.

  3. ryan says:

    Actually, there are 750ml bottles that can be capped with a standard crown cap. There are also 750ml bottles that use a larger, non-standard crown cap. It is correct, though, that some styles would need to be caged & corked like a champagne bottle. It really depends on the bottle.

    ‘d like to see the sample provision struck from the bill. I just don’t see it as necessary. Breweries that provide samples on their tours in Minnesota are all very responsible. Sample time at local breweries is far from a bar environment. It just seems a little unnecessary to me.

  4. Jeff B. says:

    If a bottle cap is a: “twist-type closure, cork, stopper, or plug”, never mind. If it is not, then the bill you linked does not allow a bottle with only a bottle cap. I’m just going by the text of the bill.

  5. ryan says:

    Whoops. My bad. I mis-read what you wrote and thought you were stating that 750ml bottles that could be capped with a crown don’t exist. Sorry about that.

    To me, this seems like a good example of why the language in this bill could use a little help from a few professionals in the brewing industry in Minnesota.

  6. David Berg says:

    Jeff B–you just illustrated the problem with trying to overdefine something–you’ll always miss a case. A similar problem exists with defining growlers as 64 fl oz. It really should read up to 64 fl oz. Lord help us if growlers switch to metric sometime.

    And you are correct in stating it gets brought up by different people every year. The entire section is becoming a mess and needs a rewrite. It’s like a piece of software that you try to add one more feature to that wasn’t in the original design; sometimes you can find a place that works, and sometimes you shoe horn it in regardless only to find you cause more problems than you solve.

  7. lee says:

    i think the issue of portion control is not one of a “let’s go get fucked at the local brew tour,” rather, it is trying to regulate liquor license(s). So you spend $7.00 to sample a few beers that equal a couple of pints, the business you are at does not carry such a license that the pub down the street has, a license that said pub pays a ridiculous amount of money for.
    This is the reason why many vineyards in CA have a wine bar seperate from the tasing room.

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