Minnesota's ban on Sunday sales of alcohol would remain in place under a liquor reform bill headed to the House floor.
The omnibus bill, passed late Wednesday in the Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee, includes allowing Sunday growler sales from Minnesota craft beer taprooms, and the so-called “Bloody Mary bill,” a measure that would allow some restaurants, hotels and other clubs to serve alcohol at 8 a.m. on Sundays—two hours earlier than current law. Other measures would make it easier for craft brewers to sell their product at the Minnesota State Fair and allow microdistilleries (with cocktail rooms similar to taprooms) to sell their products to take home.
The measure also includes a temporary ban on the sale of powdered alcohol, or “Palcohol,” expected to hit store shelves this summer, pending further analysis by the state’s Division of Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement and Commissioner of Health.
The omnibus bill did not include a measure allowing “craft wineries” the same opportunities to sell their product as farm wineries, or a measure repealing a ban on cities issuing licenses to sell to more than one liquor store proprietor within a town.
Although there is no repeal of the state’s 80-year-old Sunday sales ban in the bill, it’s nearly certain the issue will be presented as a floor amendment. Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, said he was never planning to introduce it into the omnibus bill.
“At some point we’re likely to have a hearing on it, and I’m not going to do it but somebody’s going to offer it on the House floor,” he said. “It’ll be interesting.”
However, a lobby of liquor store owners largely oppose the ban, saying a repeal would simply spread six days of liquor sales over seven, increasing costs but not profits.
No date has been scheduled for the bill's floor debate.