St. Cloud Rep Proposes New Bill, Supports Threatened MN Breweries
A St. Cloud politician is fighting for Minnesota's breweries with the proposal of a new bill.
Dan Wolgamott -- member of Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party -- earlier this week showed his support for Minnesota breweries by proposing a new bill that would double the cap on growler sales in the taproom. Under current law, Minnesota breweries may no longer sell growlers (64 fl. oz jugs) in the taproom once they begin producing more than 20,000 barrels of beer in a year. Last October, popular North Shore brewery Castle Danger (known best for its Cream Ale) reached that production mark and was forced to end growler sales. They join other Minnesota mega-breweries August Schell Brewing Co., Surly Brewing, Fulton Brewing, Summit Brewing Company and Cold Spring's Third Street Brewhouse who can also no longer sell growlers.
The reason for the cap, according to a post from Castle Danger, is "to protect local liquor stores, bars, and restaurants from competing with taprooms." According to Maddy Stewart, marketing & events manager for Castle Danger, however, growler sales make up 30% of business profit -- in other words, 30% of sales Castle Danger now has to find a new way to recoup. Three more Minnesota breweries -- Lift Bridge in Stillwater, Bent Paddle in Duluth and Indeed Brewing Co. -- are fast-approaching the 20,000 barrel mark as well and will suffer from the current cap.
St. Cloud House of Representatives member Dan Wolgamott has joined the fight, proposing a new bill that would double the production cap to 40,000 barrels per year, thus allowing breweries like Castle Danger to once again sell growlers in their taproom until they reach the new limit.
"The craft beer industry is one of the fastest growing industries in Minnesota, with many becoming community gathering points and travel destinations," Rep. Wolgamott said in a statement.
"The current cap on growler sales only serves to stifle these growing businesses and inconvenience Minnesotans looking to support their local breweries. These businesses in our communities make a significant amount of their revenue from growlers, and the current outdated cap takes that option away far too soon."
"I don’t want the breweries in my community or anywhere in our state to have to make that difficult decision just because our current laws punish growth. It’s time for the cap we have on growlers to once again grow with the industry."
A Change.org petition to Save the Growler has earned nearly 12.5k signatures.