Things are moving fast over at the Capitol! Our pint bill has a hearing on Tuesday, April 5. This is an important step, but just one of many. We still need lots of help to make this happen. We've worked with several other Minnesota brewers to compile a website that will serve as a hub for information and updates on the bill. Please visit http://mnpintlaw.com to find out where we're at and what can be done to help. And as always, please pass this on to other interested parties.
Thanks to the popular vote from the great folks at Firkin Fest, we're going home with the Golden Firkin! We won for the War & Peace. People must have been thirsty, because we went through 20 gallons of War & Peace, 10 gallons of Worthy Adversary, and 10 gallons of Sweet Child of Vine. Good times -- can't wait til next year!
We're all about honoring our Irish Heritage on St. Patrick's Day. A great way to do it? Head over to The Sample Room for a great Irish meal. Tickets are only $35. There are no reservations, but you can call an hour ahead (612-789-0333) to get on the waiting list. Please note that this is an open-scheduled dinner menu: you can order it anytime after 4:00 on Thursday and Friday.
And yes, we know that Guinness is the true Irish stout, but let's be honest: the Irishman in you prefers the Worthy Adversary. Also, if you don't have tickets to Firkin Fest, this will be your last chance to get War & Peace this year.
1st course: Irish borscht paired with Worthy Adversary
2nd course: Caraway pretzel with Lonely Blond cheddar sauce. Paired with Lonely Blonde.
3rd course: Corned beef cheek with gnocchi and roasted root vegetable. Paired with Sweet Child of Vine.
4th course: Chocolate stout Panna Cotta. Paired with cask War & Peace.
Is it March already? February certainly kept us busy (and warm) with some great events. We had a great time at the North Washington Cafe for Neighborhood Night, and spinning records at the Corner Table for Fulton DJ night (the raspberry espresso Worthy Adversary turned out fantastic!). We were sad we weren't able to make it to Name That Tune at the Aster, but that won't happen two months in a row! We were happy we were able to be involved in two great fundraising events in the Month of February, and were able to help raise money for the Courage Center at Moonlight Madness and for Livestrong at an event we hosted at the soon to be Fulton Brewery called the One Rock Rally. Both events had a great turnout, and were thrilled to be able to help give back to two great causes. The Merge Mashup at Pizza Luce Downtown was a lot of fun, look for some more dates in the future, it was a really cool forum, good discussion, and great pizza! And finally another big thanks to Sapor for an amazing Fulton Beer dinner. The food was out of this world and every pairing was spot on.
In non-Fulton related news, a big welcome to Jason and Harriet Brewing to the MN beer scene. We were excited to share a pint with Jason during his release party at the Blue Nile, and look forward to drinking many more.
Another big newsmaker in February was Surly's announcement of a plan to build a massive new brewery. Certainly big stuff, especially because the new place would include a bar/restaurant, requiring a law change that would allow Minnesota brewers to sell pints of their own beer on the brewery premises. The law change would be a great thing for the Minnesota beer scene, and we're in full support of it. To learn more about the bill and how you can help, check out our earlier blog post.
Oh yeah: there is that whole building a brewery project. Things are certainly coming along. We are finalizing our plans (collaborative effort between us, the engineer at DME, our architect, and our general contractor), securing our financing (through both equity and debt), and continuing to work with regulatory agencies to make sure we won't end up occupying various administration buildings. Here are a few pictures of how things will look (subject to change/adjustments).
We're not the most political guys, but every now and again an issue at the Capitol grabs our attention. As many of you know, last month our distinguished neighbor from across town, Surly, announced their intention to build a new $20 million brewery, restaurant, and event center. That in itself is great news, but the rub is this: Minnesota law needs to change before that can happen, because right now, packaging brewers aren't allowed to sell pints from their breweries. We firmly believe that this law change, if enacted, will go down as one of the most important moments in Minnesota beer history. The cool part is, all of us can contribute to making this change happen. Here's how you can help:
1) Look up your State Representative and Senator.
2) Call each of them to voice your support. All you need to say is that you support SF 416 and HF 703. Reasons why: the bill will bring us more jobs, more tax revenue, and more tourism. You don't have to be negative or attack the opposition; just voice your support. If you have a moment, read below for more background.
3) Tell your friends to do the same. This means you, no matter how you communciate: all you emailers, phone callers, and Facebookers; texters, Tweeters, and face-to-face talkers; Letter writers, broadcasters, standers-on-street-corners and shout-from-mountaintoppers. It doesn't matter how you do it, it just matters that you do it. Get the message out there and multiply your effect.
The great thing is, if each legislator gets even a dozen calls in favor, it shows them how important this is to Minnesota citizens. And if you don't think your call makes a difference, think of this: there is a small but highly active group opposed to any sort of change in alcohol laws, and they are very good at calling their legislators. Don't let them drown us out.
Why the Brewery Pint Sale Legislation Matters
As the law currently stands, brewers in Minnesota must decide if they want to be either a packaging brewery (such as Surly, Summit, or our upcoming brewery) whose production must be sold for off-premise consumption; or a brewpub, whose production must be sold entirely on-premises. The legalese gets a little more complicated, but that’s the basic outline.
The proposed law change is simple: it would allow packaging breweries to apply for an on-premise license from their local municipality. In other words, Fulton would be allowed to sell you a pint of our own beer in our own brewery.
While this change may seem small, the implications are huge. Similar legislation in other states such as California, Colorado, Oregon, Wisconsin was passed years ago. The effect? Those states, despite being similar in size to Minnesota, have four times as many breweries as Minnesota. The primary reason is because even a small brewery is incredibly expensive to open, and the upstart brewery has to sell a substantial amount of beer just to break even. The ability to sell pints on premise lowers that barrier, helping the brewer get more sales at a higher margin in those crucial early years. The benefits are also important for larger, more established breweries. Nationally renowned brewers such as Stone have become destinations—something that could not happen without the ability to sell pints on premise. Cities such as Portland, Denver, and San Diego have become popular for “beer tourism” thanks to their flourishing brewery/brewpub scene. It’s exciting to think about Minneapolis/St. Paul becoming a beer destination as well – and not just from a beer enthusiast’s standpoint. The growth of such an industry could bring hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars of tax revenue to our cities.
Seems easy, right? Not so, unfortunately. Certain groups lobby against any proposed changes in laws related to alcohol. Usually, it’s under the guise of “protecting the integrity of the 3-tier system.” The 3-tier system, for those not familiar, is the division between brewers, wholesalers/distributors, and retailers. Unfortunately, painting the proposed law change as an attack on the 3-tier system is a mischaracterization. SF 416 and HF 703 are not looking to expand a brewer’s ability to self-distribute, sell packaged beer (such as six-packs) from their brewery, or to own or operate retail locations outside of their own brewery. Other states have given brewers far more rights to sell and distribute than this bill would, and their 3-tier systems continue to thrive. We and other Minnesota breweries support the 3-tier system, and believe this bill will benefit distributors and retailers, by allowing small breweries to grow and produce more beer for them to distribute and sell. Over time, as more breweries open and grow and the Twin Cities earns national recognition as a beer destination, all 3 tiers benefit in greater and greater magnitude.
So again, we’ll ask: please call your State Senator and Representative. For less than five minutes of your time, you can become part of brewing history in Minnesota. Looking forward to sharing a beer with you – whether it’s purchased from the brewery, a bar, or a liquor store.