Skip to Content

‘Free the Growler’ campaign aims to end Minnesota’s growler cap

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00

TWO HARBORS, MN- Out of the roughly 8,000 breweries across the United States, five are not allowed to sell growlers out of their taprooms.

All five are in Minnesota due to a law restricting growler sales.

Some brewery owners are pleading with lawmakers to overturn the law and 'Free the Growler'.

Dumping beer down a drain may be a lager lover's worst nightmare, but for several breweries across Minnesota, this has become the harsh reality.

"In Minnesota, when you pass production of 20,000 barrels of beer, and there are five of us in the state that have done so, Minnesota law says that you can no longer sell growlers," said Lon Larson, Co-Owner and Vice President of Castle Danger Brewing.

Castle Danger is one of the breweries taking a hit, saying they have lost 30% of their taproom sales since they hit the limit.

Now, bar and restaurant shutdowns have taken impacts to a new level.

The brewery was not able to repurpose restaurant-bound beer into things like growlers, bringing taproom sales to zero.

"It would have been nice to be able to sell to-go products because that would have been an outlet for that product," said Larson.

Castle Danger is not the only one feeling the frustrations.

"We're struggling in this economy to make that up, and we will be for years," said Jim Diley, Co-Owner of Fulton Brewing.

Six brewery owners from across the state have joined together to call on lawmakers to lift the cap.

"There have been bills introduced over the last biennium in special session and so on," said Rep. Jim Nash, representing district 47A. "We do have bills that are being drafted and are ready to be put into the system."

Nash is one of the several lawmakers against the cap.

He says some of the liquor laws in Minnesota are outdated and are hurting successful businesses.

"They are not trying to become their own liquor store. They are not trying to become their own distributor. They are trying to find out what that sweet spot is and what is a good beer and to bring in some additional revenue," said Nash.

Nash said the issue has already drawn bipartisan support.

He believes it will pass overwhelmingly, once in the hands of lawmakers.

"We just need people to recognize that it's time to change and make a move to change," said Nash.

As of right now, there is no timeline on when the legislation could be introduced.

However, the session does end in May.

Meanwhile, groups like The Minnesota Beer Wholesalers Association favor the cap.

Association President Michael Madigan said during the pandemic, larger breweries have experienced an increase in sales due to heightened demand for their packaged products at places like liquor stores.

In a statement, Madigan said, "As winners in an industry that has been hardest hit by the pandemic, they do not need any further competitive advantages to the detriment of the restaurants, bars, and other industry members who have been devastated by the pandemic."

To learn more about the 'Free the Growler' initiative click here.

Author Profile Photo

Natalie Grant

Skip to content