News & Updates

Pedal Pubs Now Legal

The legislature passed, and the governor signed into law, some changes to the state’s liquor laws Thursday. The most notable change, at least to this follower, legalizes pedal pubs to operate on streets and in parks, gives pedal pubs the same rights as limos and party buses with regard to consumption in public. Woo hoo! Oh yeah, you may have also heard that bars can now stay open until 4 a.m. during the Republican National Convention.  

The entire bill can be viewed here.


  1. Ben says:

    What a joke. We can’t get the law changed but they make an acceptation for the guys with the money. I guess as they say, those with the gold make the rules.

    As for the Pedal Pub, what’s legal? Can you drink on it while on public property and streets? Can it now go in the parks?

  2. Eric says:

    Re: the Pedal Pub. It seems they’ve actually been operating them illegally, and the law change gives them the same status as limos and party buses so they can go wherever they want and drink!

    To your other point, I get what your saying, but I don’t think that’s a fair assessment of the situation. Sure, if you have money, you can pay lobbyists to work on your issue. But Minnesota’s legislative process is pretty easy to understand and get involved in, even for the “average citizen.”

    Case in point: the law that was changed to allow brewpubs/small breweries to sell 750s happened because a guy on the North Shore was interested in opening a Belgian-style brewery, and wanted to sell 750s on premises. So he talked to his legislator, who introduced a bill, and who tracked it through the process.

    Granted, the distributors and wholesalers DO have a lot more money and influence than the Craft Brewers Guild. But at least in the last couple years, the CBG hasn’t tried with any concerted effort to push through a legislative agenda. I think when they do, they’ll be a lot more successful than some may think they will be. Legislators drink craft beer too.

  3. ryan says:

    The law is about booze on the PedalPub (and other such vehicles, is it not?

    “This section does not prohibit the possession or
    1.21consumption of alcoholic beverages by passengers in:
    1.22 (1) a bus that is operated by a motor carrier of passengers, as defined in section
    1.23221.011, subdivision 48 ; or
    1.24 (2) a vehicle that is operated for commercial purposes in a manner similar to a
    1.25bicycle as defined in section 169.01, subdivision 51, with five or more passengers who
    1.26provide pedal power to the drive train of the vehicle; or”

    Are you sure they’ve been operating illegally?

    “Can I drink alcohol on the PedalPub?
    Yes and no.

    Yes while on private property with the owner’s approval. (Your driveway, your yard, while tailgating, restaurant/bar parking lots, campgrounds, etc.) No, while on public property. (Parks, streets, etc.)”

  4. David Berg says:

    I think it’s a bit over-simplified to assume since 750 ml bottles was easy, anything else will be. It all depends on what is being asked. Had growlers not been made legal years before, there would be no 750 ml bottles. As one who was in attendance testifying at every hearing for growlers, I can assure you it was anything but easy. And it still almost died in conference committee. The whole 3 year process was in fact quite painful.

  5. Ben says:

    David you’ve done a lot of hard work to get the growlers pushed through. I understand that it’s very far from easy. I recall the 2006 bill that would have allowed brewpubs to sell beer to distributors. You put lots of hard work into that only to have 2 MN breweries get involved and get the senator to change her mind about the bill she had written. Or the 2001 bill that would have allowed breweries to sell pints on premise. You had to go up against the beer wholesalers, Minnesota Licensed Beverage Assoc, MADD, numerous bars, liquor stores, the Dept of Public Safety, and the Teamsters. I thank you for all your efforts (and I’m sure the beer loving community does too).

    While this Pedal Pub bill is a nice victory, I’d love to see support for a bill that could benefit more of us. I think the readership of this site and other Minnesota beer sites has gotten large enough that we could get the support of many more people behind a bill now. That’s not to say it’d be any easier to get it pushed through.

    Ryan, any more details on the other changes that were made to the MN liquor laws?

  6. Eric says:

    I don’t know where I got the “streets and parks” part of that. I musta been looking at an earlier version of the bill. Edited. As I was saying, it’s an easy process to follow. Ask me about early childhood instead.

    But it is easy to get involved, and I think it is possible to have an effect on the final product. Not easy to do that, even for some legislators, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, depending on who’s in power 😉

  7. Eric says:

    If you look at the bill, you’ll notice that it also allows Minnesota wine producers to make and sell brandy and cognac on-site. There are a couple other technical corrections as well, one for the Fairground and a local liquor license.

    A stand alone bill to prevent keg theft also became law, prohibiting scrap metal dealers from buying or receiving a keg from anyone but a brewery or keg manufacturer.

    I agree that a grassroots effort to make changes to the laws would be relatively easy to throw together, and ultimately effective. Not only with the craft beer advocates like us, but what if all the casual Summit or Surly drinkers got involved? I mean, why should a small brewery from Colorado be able to have a tap handle at the Pig or Stub & Herbs, but THB, Fitgers, Great Waters, BJ can’t? And why shouldn’t Summit or Schells be able have a restaurant on site if they want? I think legislators would respond to the patrons and owners of the fine beer establishments in their districts.

  8. Ben says:

    Well get the troops together then. Problem last time is that they had 2 MN production breweries (not members of the MCBG) go against it and get the senator to flip on the bill (and that’s still not to say that it would have passed even if Senator Solon would have backed it). You make it seem so easy but there’s a reason we don’t have these laws in place already. If it was that simple we’d have bars at breweries already. It’s not for lack of effort on the part of those involved.

    MN is just a very hard state to change when it comes to liquor laws. Look at our Sunday off-sale law. We’re one of only 5 states that still don’t allow off-sale on Sundays. Think about how much money is lost because of that (there’s study traffic into Hudson all day Sunday from people more then happy to give them their alcohol tax dollars).

    With the growth of interest in craft beer in the past several years there are definitely more people out there to get to support this type of effort but support doesn’t automatically mean a bill will be passed. How many times have we voted in favor of a transportation tax increase to fund the transportation system in this state and our governor still continues to veto it every time? Passing a bill isn’t as easy as Schoolhouse Rock’s How a Bill Becomes a Law makes it seem.

    I’m not sure if the MCBG is currently looking at trying to make any changes to the current laws but I’d love to have them keep us informed of anything that may be going on and any ways we can support their efforts. Their efforts are beneficial to all of us.

  9. Eric says:

    You’re totally right on track. And I never said its easy–and nor should it be. But I don’t think its rocket science to figure out how to do it either. The mood at the Capitol has changed since the growler law was passed, as has the beer scene (duh). Additionally, law changes take time; the Legislature is all about incrementalism–look at any other issue and its the same thing. Dave and the MCBG laid the ground work with the growler law, followed by the 750 law, followed by the keg theft bill and pedal pub.

    No beer no peace!

  10. Scott says:

    So it is illegal to drink beer while driving around in the back of a limo? I’m a bit confused as to the new laws in regards to the pedal pub.

  11. ryan says:

    Scott – basically this change now allows passengers on the PedalPub (or other PedalPub-like vehicles) to consume alcohol on board – much in the same way that you could do so in a limo or on a bus, etc.

  12. Scott says:

    most excellent clarification. Gonna be at Stub’s on Wednesday? is gonna be there.

  13. Ben says: looks cool. Stupid deleted my account cause I wouldn’t post my full name (first and last) to be posted in every single post on a public internet forum. No thanks. Who wants their full name in every post on an internet forum?

  14. ryan says:

    Here’s something I’d like to see MNBeer readers push – mandated tap line cleaning. You’ve all experienced it – bad beer from dirty tap lines. Illinois requires that establishments clean their lines every two weeks, but we have no such legislation. I can’t count how many times I’ve had bad beer because of dirty tap lines. I know that some places are really good at doing so, but other places… not so much. This would be a good thing for us as consumers to get behind. Breweries aren’t going to touch it – if they make waves, somebody might pull their tap. Craft beer drinkers, on the other hand, don’t have anything to learn and only have fresh, clean beer to gain.

  15. Ben says:

    I can point you in the direction of a School House Rock video that can show you how to go about getting this all started.

  16. Eric says:

    As some one who has spent 10+ years in state government, 2 as a lobbyist, SHR is actually not too far from the truth. Minnesota is known around the country as being one of the more eclean and asily accessible legislative processes, and I can attest to that. Constituents have amazing power–even more so than multi-million dollar industries.

  17. Jason says:

    OK Ryan, How many establishments in the state have beer taps. Now take that number and multiply it by how often the lines would need to be checked (at least once a month, I would guess). Then factor in the method of actually determining how the lines are actually cleaned (please, point me to an ASTM ot ISO method). Finally tell me how we ( or the owners of an establishment) are going to pay for said testing/ certification. Yes, that seems like a good use of our tax dollars or an extra fee to the establishment. Instead, how about YOU NOT GOTO THE PLACE THAT DOES NOT CLEAN THEIR TAPS. Seems like a pretty easy fix to me.

    Oh wait, I forgot. State Goverment should be involved in EVERTYHING. Go ahead and ask Scott how easy that would be to pass. Especially when it will cost everyone more money. I promise he knows better than you.

  18. David Berg says:

    That’s a bit of a misleading argument. Food and beverage establishments are already under the jurisdiction of the Dept of Health. They are not inspected once a month, yet they can be inspected at any time.

    Tap line cleaning procedures are pretty well documented, and I would hope that anyone who serves draft beer would be as well versed in this as they are in the temperatures required for food storage.

    Finally, not everyone understands how important line cleaning is. A bad beer caused by dirty tap lines is more than likely blamed on the brewery, not the bar.

  19. ryan says:

    Okay. Let’s take a deep breath here. Let’s not argue big gov’t vs. small gov’t, left vs. right, etc., etc. Those big arguments rarely go anywhere. It was an idea, you see flaws and I’m cool with that.

    I agree with Dave. I woudn’t expect monthly, or even yearly inspections. This seems like a waste of effort, time and money, especially with places that make an effort to keep their lines in good shape. I see this as more of a preventative measure to keep establishments from being lazy with regards to maintaining their taps and lines.

    Line-cleaning is a fairly well-defined procedure. It’s really not that difficult to clean a line and a tap, and many places already do this on a fairly regular basis, either themselves or through a third-party service.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s as easy as not frequenting a place that doesn’t have clean lines. Like Dave said, we tend to blame the brewery for “a bad batch” or some other inconsistencies in the keg versus thinking that the line might be dirty. For me, there are beers that I can taste and “dirty line” may be a quick assumption. With beers that I’m not familiar with, that’s another story. I just wonder how many people have been turned off of a local/craft brew because it’s on a slow-moving line that doesn’t get regularly cleaned.

  20. Mag says:

    I may be generally opposed to state/federal interference in many issues, but that doesn’t mean mandated tap-line cleaning would be a bad thing. It may not be a consumer health concern and thus there may not be impetus from that perspective, but it would protect producers. Breweries don’t have that much control over who ultimately buys their products, but they’ve got an interest in ensuring that the consumers get what the breweries intended for them to get. The state/fed have seen fit to require additional parties be inserted in the brewer-to-consumer channel, so why not protect both ends of this channel by helping to ensure that the product is what it’s purported to be?

    That having been said, I also think Jason’s point about the additional cost and other resources needed to make this happen being yet another unnecessary burden. Hell, instead of helping the industry it could end up hurting it. It could be a nice little excuse to layer on yet another layer of cost and bureaucracy so as to limit the growth and health of those evil breweries.

    Let the market sort it out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a vile tasting Summit or Schell’s (or other beers) b/c some bar didn’t care enough about the quality of the products they sell to clean a fricken line. I don’t go to those places when I find them. I also bad-mouth them to any who will listen. Maybe the Better Business Bureau should develop a new division!

  21. TruthBrew says:

    “Breweries aren’t going to touch it – if they make waves, somebody might pull their tap.”

    I just met with the New Belgium Brewing “Beer Ranger” for Minnesota. Quite surprisingly, they do this very thing. Their draft accounts are required to keep the NB line in a normal cleaning rotation and are subject to checks by New Belgium. I’ll be writing up a bit more about my chat with them soon for the next TCI. Was a discussion I wasn’t expecting but quite interesting.

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