Union's change of heart a 'green light' for Sunday beer growler sales, senator says



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ST. PAUL, Minnesota — Minnesota residents may soon be able to take home their favorite craft brews in 64-ounce growlers on Sundays due to a labor union's reversal on the issue, a top legislative backer of repealing the state's Sunday liquor sales bans said Monday.

The Teamsters Joint Council 32 helped derail the measure near the end of the legislative session last year, citing concerns about its impact on the union's labor contracts. But union lobbyist Ed Reynoso told a Senate Committee on Monday that, "at this point" the union won't oppose the effort this year.

Sen. Roger Reinert said the change of heart clears the path to tweak the state's liquor laws. House lawmakers have also included a similar provision in their own package of liquor law revisions.

"Having their blessing here today I think really is a green light for Sunday growler sales," the Duluth Democrat said.

The change falls far short of the full-blown repeal of Minnesota's ban on Sunday liquor sales — a Prohibition era law — which advocates have tried and failed for years to remove. But legal growler sales would be a major win for members the state's burgeoning craft beer industry, who say a seventh day would bring in major sales.

Some key senators still oppose any Sunday takeaway sales so it's not a done deal. Reynoso also told lawmakers brewers should have to report its off-site sales on a quarterly basis to make sure they're not exceeding annual barrel limits for small breweries.

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