Right now, craft brewing means big business, especially for local communities. Across the country, states are working on legislation to help craft brewers conduct business. Minnesota is a shining example of how a state can grow its craft beer industry with a little help from city and state officials. Two craft breweries — Summit Brewing Co. and Cold Spring Brewing Co./Third Street Brewhouse — cracked the list of top 50 U.S. craft breweries in 2012, and there’s no looking back.
The Crookston Times reported that two-thirds of the breweries in Minnesota have opened since 2011. Seen as a good opportunity to support the state’s job creation, economic growth and tourism, Minnesota officials are seeking to support the industry, including Mayor R.T. Rybak, who reportedly isn’t afraid to tweak zoning and other city ordinances to help out local brewing businesses.
Recently, there’s been a hiccup in support, and it comes in the form of growler laws. A group of craft brewers have pushed to revise state law to allow the sale of 64-ounce growlers, an issue in which some states are tackling. From the Crookston Times:
Those take-home bottles are a significant revenue source for many brewers, but current law bans breweries that churn out more than 3,500 barrels annually from selling them. A bill in the works would bump that threshold up to 20,000 barrels. Both Rybak and Duluth Mayor Don Ness have wholeheartedly backed that effort.
“There’s a tremendous amount of support at a local level to encourage these entrepreneurs to succeed,” Ness said. “Then we run up against these state restrictions that really hamper the ability of Minnesota brewers to be as successful as they could be.”
According to the Crookston Times, officials are hopeful that the Minnesota legislature will continue to support the local craft community, as it aims to ingrain craft beer in the state’s culture, mimicking states such as California, Colorado and Oregon.
Minnesota has a history of supporting craft brewers, including changing a longstanding ordinance that separated churches and establishments that serve alcohol so that Dangerous Man Brewing could open a taproom in northeast Minneapolis. Dangerous Man finally opened its doors earlier this year.