Today the Minneapolis City Council took a step toward making Minneapolis a more brewery-friendly city. With the passage of the "Brew Beer Here" ordinance, sponsored by City Councilman Gary Schiff, commercial breweries within Minneapolis will now be allowed to sell growlers (half gallon jugs) and 750ml bottles of beer. Previously, only brewpubs (such as our friends at Herkimer, Town Hall Brewery and Rock Bottom Brewery) could sell growlers in Minneapolis. Meeting like-minded beer enthusiasts and chatting about new beers--and old favorites--are some of the most important (and fun!) aspects of the craft beer business, for brewpubs and packaging breweries alike. Without the ability to sell growlers, it's very difficult for packaging breweries (which are not allowed to sell pints) to connect with customers and really become a part of their community. Beer Law 101: Following prohibition, federal and state laws were created that restricted a breweries ability to offer their products directly to the consumer. These restrictions included enacting laws prohibiting commercial packaging breweries from opening a restaurant to serve their beer or sell its products directly to the public (pints, bottles, etc.). Over time, these federal laws have been relaxed and other states have taken a stand for their local economies by adopting the more relaxed laws. For example, breweries in Colorado can sell their beer on-premises in any package (6-packs, large bottles, growlers, pints, etc.), while Minnesota has opted to maintain the strict post-prohibition laws. These laws obviously make it more difficult to start a small brewery in Minnesota and explain, in part, why we have significantly less breweries compared to states such as Colorado, Washington, Oregon and even our neighbor to the east, Wisconsin. As an attorney in Minneapolis, Jim’s vision and can-do attitude once again proved incredibly helpful as Fulton worked with Councilman Schiff on drafting and presenting the Brew Beer Here legislation. Not only was it a great experience to work closely with a supportive city council in writing the legislation, but also with aspiring breweries, such as Harriet Brewing (launching late 2010) and 612 Brew (launching 2011). We all believe in craft beer, and it’s exciting to work together to create a city that is a destination for beer connoisseurs across the country. If you’re interested in watching part of this historic step for Minneapolis, here is a short video of the presentations to the council: MPLS City Council Meeting - 7.26.10 - Growler Law. Growlers are back in Minneapolis, due in large part to Gary Schiff and the Minneapolis City Council. Let's raise a glass to thank them for their efforts to support our local economy--and of course, local beer. Cheers!