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Beer Panic, Feeding the Hungry, and Sunday Sales Falter: Business Blotter

A roundup of the week's top business stories in St. Louis Park.

Will State Laws Kill Local Brewers' Growler Sales?

Minnesota beer advocates, including St. Louis Park's Steel Toe Brewing company, have begun calling for new changes to the state's beer laws.

The group, called "Save the Growler," contends that Minnesota laws penalize successful small breweries by cutting off a business's ability to sell growlers (a half-gallon jug) of beer to fans. Current law permits breweries that produce less than 3,500 barrels of beer per year to sell up to 500 barrels of that in growlers, direct from the brewery. Breach that 3,500 barrel limit, and you can't ever sell growlers again.

The problem, advocate say, is that many local brewers use growlers to build a fan base. Many liquor stores don't carry every Minnesota craft beer, making growlers the only way some fans can enjoy certain local brews at home. To fix this, they propose raising the barrel-per-year cap to 250,000, but preserve the 500 barrel limit for total growler sales.

Local politicians with microbreweries among their constituents, including Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, have joined the activists' calls. 

SLP Businesses, Food Shelf Team Up for March

March is Minnesota Food Share Month, when the statewide nonprofit Minnesota Food Share campaigns to raise as much money as possible for the state's food shelves for the year ahead. The campaign is gunning for a $1 million goal this year.

Last year's campaign gathered in $8 million in cash donations and 4.4 million pounds of food.

One of this year's beneficiaries will be St. Louis Park's STEP food shelf. STEP has challenged the St. Louis Park community to raise $100,000 dollars or 100,000 pounds of food this month to help feed the hundreds of thousands of Twin Cities residents who rely on food shelves to fill their own pantries.

Many local businesses are taking part, including the St. Louis Park McCoy's Public House. The restaurant is donating $0.25 for every pint of local Steel Toe beer sold and $0.50 for every "Nugget" appetizer sold this month to STEP.

Sunday Sales Bill Falters in State Legislature

A bill in the state legislature being pushed by Four Firkins owner Jason Alvey that would allow alcohol to be sold on Sunday seems to be dead in the water.

The bill got a hearing before a state Senate committee, but according to the Associated Press, the proposal got a cool reception.

(Sen. Roger) Reinert, DFL-Duluth, called it a “courtesy hearing,” and told The Associated Press in an interview that he knows his bill won’t succeed until everyday Minnesotans get behind it. The committee didn’t vote on the bill.

Only a handful of the state's liquor stores have publicly signed on to support the bill. Many, including store owners at last week's state Senate hearing, said it would increase their labor costs without generating much income in return, as they would have to be open to stay competitive. 

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