POLICY

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TEMPORARY RELIEF EFFORTS FOR MINNESOTA'S CRAFT BREWERIES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild understands that this is a difficult time for all small businesses, especially those in the hospitality industry who rely on foot traffic as a primary source of income. In an effort to support Minnesota’s craft breweries and prevent closures, the MNCBG is asking for temporary relief on a variety of business operations.

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT OUR TEMPORARY RELIEF EFFORTS & YOUR FAVORITE BREWERIES

Minnesota’s craft beer fans are the best! Thank you for your ongoing support of your favorite breweries.

Here’s how you can help:

  • BUY LOCAL. Buy MN craft beer wherever you can. Whether that means a crowler to go from the brewery down the street, a 4-pack from your favorite liquor store, or a 6-pack with your take-out order, every single purchase helps!
  • TAG & SHARE. That’s right, sharing and tagging your favorite breweries on social is a great way to tell your friends what you’re drinking and help get the word out about MN’s craft beer!
  • BUY SWAG. Breweries rarely have a shortage of sweet swag, and now is a great time to buy. Not sure what you want right now? Grab a gift card to purchase something later or to give as a gift.
  • ATTEND VIRTUAL EVENTS. The MNCBG’s Hygge Hoopla is just one of many fun events going on digitally to support breweries. Check out our brewery map to find out where you can get MN craft beer AND check out the brewery websites to check for any digital events. Breweries are getting creative these days, you can see anything from tastings to tours, or even musical performances!

OVER HALF OF HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES PROJECTED TO PERMANENTLY CLOSE BY JULY AT CURRENT PACE

HOSPITALITY COALITION PROPOSES ECONOMIC RELIEF PACKAGE TO SAVE CRITICAL INDUSTRY

MN BREWERIES SEEK SUPPORT THROUGH COVID CLOSURE PERIOD

OUTLINE OF TEMPORARY ASKS

April 27, 2020—These asks are temporary to allow breweries to build back up to normal operations when the restrictions surrounding the pandemic have been lifted.

  • We know that the supply chain is currently experience challenges. Breweries are reporting that crowlers and growlers are extremely back-ordered and some note they will not receive a new supply until mid-June. To that, many of our members have reached out to the legislature to ask for a temporary allowance of off-sale in 12 and 16oz cans so breweries who are able to sell those products may free up the supply chain for others who do not have access to canning equipment. Further, there are many breweries who have indicated that they are warehousing inventory in cans that may have to be dumped. A bill was introduced by Reps Olson and Jordan (HF 4640) to address this need on May 5, 2020.
  • Dumping products come at a high cost. All breweries are trying to find sales channels to sell the products they have on hand, but unfortunately some beers do have a more immediate expiration date. To address those issues, we are seeking potential ways for breweries to seek reimbursement for dumped/spoiled beer.
  • In an effort to ease the burden of the ongoing expenses a brewery faces in a time where foot traffic has been eliminated, the MNCBG has partnered with other members of the hospitality industry to seek the following financial relief:
    • Expand the Small Business Emergency Loan program through the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development
    • Waive Sales Tax Payments for Hospitality Businesses through October
    • Delay May 15 Property Tax Payments for Businesses Impacted by the Pandemic
    • Establish a 90-day Forbearance and Rent Abatement Program
    • Suspend all Regulatory Fees through December 2020

MN BREWERIES, BARS, AND RESTAURANTS CALL FOR IMMEDIATE LIQUOR REGULATORY RELIEF

April 3, 2020

HOSPITALITY MINNESOTA CALLS FOR REGULATORY RELIEF

April 2, 2020

Your local breweries need your support now more than ever! Remember to buy local when you are picking up beer—use our map to find out what options your favorite breweries are offering for beer-to-go.

STATE GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

March 20, 2020 — We are also asking the Governor and the state legislature to help lift some existing laws to temporarily allow breweries to sell more beer from their breweries during this time. If you want to support local breweries and help these small businesses have a fighting chance, please contact your legislators TODAY! We have sent letters to both the Governor and the legislature to support these efforts:

  • Suspension of enforcement actions against breweries, bars, and restaurants unless based on a violation of the criminal code or food safety risk.
  • Authorization for any brewery that meets the statutory requirements for self-distribution to commence distribution even if they have not applied and/or yet been granted a wholesalers license.
  • Authorization for any brewery to retail beer in growlers, cans, or bottles for off-premise consumption regardless of whether they have applied for or received a retailers license from their municipality.
  • Authorization for any brewery to remotely sell and deliver beer in growlers, cans, or bottles directly to consumers regardless of local municipal rules and ordinances.
  • Authorization for bars and restaurants to sell growlers and growler refills for off-premise consumption.
  • Authorization for bars and restaurants to sell beer in growlers, cans, or bottles to-go or for delivery.
  • Ability to direct ship to consumers (e.g. through FedEx/UPS/USPS).

Other relief measures:

  • Suspend state excise taxes on beer
  • Suspend state payroll taxes
  • Continued help obtaining more no interest loans + deferred payments and grants
  • Release of lease/rent and utility payments for minimum 2 months
  • Prohibition on business evictions until three months after end of crisis
  • Creation of a small business crisis fund to issue stabilization grants

MODERNIZING MINNESOTA'S CRAFT BEER LAWS

2020 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild’s legislative priorities will eliminate unnecessary restrictions that are currently holding back businesses at every level of the beer supply chain and limiting consumers’ choices.

We advocate for our ~150 MN Brewery members. Sign up below to join our efforts to advocate for MN Craft Beer!

OUR LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

2020 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

CONSUMER-DRIVEN OFF-SALE PACKAGING

Amend off-sale restrictions to allow breweries & brewpubs to sell up to 768 oz of beer per customer per day in any vessel size
or style for off-premise consumption, subject to the existing 750 barrel cap annual cap.

  • This is consistent with the intended purpose of allowing limited taproom and brewpub off-sales, which is to enable small breweries to directly market their products in order to build brand recognition and consumer demand.
  • It ensures that the beer marketed to consumers is packaged in a manner that ensures freshness and intended flavor at the point of consumption.
  • It responds to overwhelming consumer demand and expectations and is consistent with both national packaging trends and craft beer laws in other states.
  • It enables investment in canning and bottling infrastructure and, consequently, the capacity to enter distribution earlier and by smaller breweries.
  • It gives liquor stores access to continuously new products, which is what today’s retail beer consumers demand most.
  • It allows breweries to sell seasonal and experimental beers that are produced in quantities too limited for wholesale distribution.
  • It supports responsible consumption by allowing consumers to enjoy individual servings of beer without concern that the rest will go flat.

JOINT SALES OF COLLABORATION BEERS

Allow breweries that collaborate together on the development of a beer to each sell the collaborative beer in their own taproom regardless of which brewery is the commercially production location as long as its less than 20% of their taplines.

  • This supports the development of new, innovative beers that are the driving force in the growth and success of craft breweries and the entire beer sector.
  • It will increase the volume of beer sold through wholesale distribution.
  • It will strengthen beer tourism in Minnesota as consumers from across the country visit and continue to return to our state to try their favorite breweries’ newest products.

CLARIFICATION FOR BREWPUBS

Clarify statutory authorization for brew pubs to donate, deliver, and serve beer at tasting festivals hosted by non-profit organizations.

  • The existing statutory language provides this authorization clearly for breweries but is ambiguous with respect to brew pubs.  There is no public policy reason to exclude brew  pubs.