Thanks to antiquated liquor laws, Minnesota is the only state in the country still restricting breweries on how much liquor they can sell -- and how -- from their taprooms.

As Minnesotans begin to see a light at the end of the coronavirus-tunnel and employees initially considered "non-essential" begin returning to their jobs again, one industry continues to suffer the consequences of a closed economy...and outdated laws. According to recent estimates, 15% of Minnesota's nearly 200 craft breweries will be forced to close in the next month with another 30% forced to do the same in the next three months. With taprooms closed to customers and  kegs intended for restaurants and bars sitting filled with beer going bad, breweries like Bauhaus Brew Labs in Minneapolis are being forced to dump their beer.

One hurdle that continues to hamper the progress and growth of Minnesota craft breweries during this time is an antiquated law that prevents local breweries from selling 4- and six-packs of beers from the taproom. While breweries may sell 32oz crowlers and 64oz growlers of beer, they are not able to sell the more popular and accessable 4- and 6-packs. Minnesota is the only state in the country that still has this law. Mid-April, Minnesota Legislature passed a relief bill that allows Minnesota bars and restaurants to sell up to 72oz of beer-to-go -- or, basically, a six-pack -- with takeout orders. Minnesota breweries, however, were noticeably absent from that bill. The current plight of Minnesota's craft beer industry has even garnered the attention of the NY Times.

And yet, Minnesota politicians continue to drag their feet in helping one of the fastest-growing industries in country. Desperate for change and fearing for their survival, Minnesota breweries are now taking the fight to local government and calling for help at a national level with a new campaign -- "#FreeTheFourPack.

Originally launched by Back Channel Brewing in Spring Park, the local craft beer industry and craft beer enthusiasts everywhere are spreading the word and sharing their support.

Right now, there are three major ways to support local Minnesota craft breweries.

The first is contact your local legislatures and ask them to amend the laws to benefit Minnesota craft breweries. The Minnesota Brewers Guild has some fantastic resources to help you find your legislatures and how to word a message to them.

The second way to support is to sign the Change.org petition to prioritize the new bill in local government.

Third and finally, until the antiquated law is passed, Minnesota breweries continue to need our financial support. The most direct way is to buy buy-to-go, merchandise and gift cards directly from the taproom during open hours. Alternatively, consider buying local craft beer next time you're in the liquor store.

Will you support Minnesota craft breweries and #FreeTheFourPack?

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