Minneapolis plan to aid fledgling brewers advances

  • Updated: August 8, 2011 - 11:50 PM

A pending ordinance would allow small brewers to sell their beer by the drink at their breweries.

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Surly Furious Beer cans are filled at the Surly Brewery in Brooklyn Center, Minn.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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A proposal to encourage the fledgling brewing industry of Minneapolis by allowing microbrewers to sell their suds from on-premises taprooms is heading toward City Council approval.

The proposal ratifies on a local level the Legislature's action earlier this year to allow on-site peddling of beer by breweries. That's known as the "Surly bill," after the Brooklyn Center-based beermaker that wants to open a restaurant.

Minneapolis already has one operating commercial microbrewer, Harriet Brewing at 3036 Minnehaha Av., with another, Fulton Beer, ready to shift its production from Wisconsin to 414 6th Av. N. as soon as its federal license is issued.

City officials also have been pursuing Surly for a potential riverfront location.

The proposal by council members Gary Schiff and Elizabeth Glidden applies to brewers that produce fewer than 250,000 barrels annually. Fulton hopes to brew about 3,300 barrels a year at first.

The taproom proposal that's heading for Aug. 19 approval by the council, plus a previous law change that allows small brewers to sell 64-ounce "growler" jugs from their breweries, are designed to help brewers accumulate capital. That's because they earn higher profits than selling beer through distributors.

"We believe we can put Minneapolis on the craft beer map," Jim Diley of Fulton Beer told the council Monday.

STEVE BRANDT

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