After touring one of Stillwater’s micro-breweries, grabbing a growler to go just seems natural.
Growlers have become a popular way to drink local craft brews—and those 64-ounce containers are key to the success of small, local businesses like Lift Bridge Brewing Co.
But as craft breweries grow, current Minnesota law takes away their ability to sell growlers.
So, the Minnesota Brewer’s Association launched a fight to “Save the Growler,” urging state legislators to allow craft brewers of all sizes to sell beer drinkers those beloved jugs.
“One by one, the craft beers you know and love risk falling victim to Minnesota’s restrictive growler regulations,” a post on savethegrowler.org reads. “Right now, breweries can sell growlers if their annual production is 3,500 barrels or less. But once a brewery surpasses that level, state law prohibits them from selling any growlers. Ever. Gone is an important source of revenue these small businesses need for growth. Gone, too, is the freedom of choice once available to the brewery faithful.”
Lift Bridge Brewing Co. will likely exceed that 3,500-barrel mark this year, Co-owner Dan Schwartz told KSTP.
“As you continue to grow, you do get penalized and you do take a step backwards, so that is certainly frustrating,” Schwartz said. “It is a great source of revenue for us, and it really does help us grow, buy more equipment and invest in more people.”
Selling growlers to consumers gives brewers a direct line of revenue from their beer, a post on Minnesota Beer Activists reads. “When a brewery sells growlers they don’t have the added expense of transporting the beer to market and from the retailer, or worry about the additional investment in kegs.”
The Minnesota Brewer’s Association is not seeking to expand the quantity of growlers craft brewers can sell (500 barrels per year) or asking for funding or tax breaks.
Brewers are simply asking legislators to raise the cap on the growlers, Schwartz said, “so we can continue to sell them, even at this small level.”
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Minn. beer makers launch "Save the Growler" campaign (Bring Me the News)
Save the Growler? (Minnesota Beer Activists)