In May of 2022, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a bill many are calling the “Free the Growler” Bill. According to Governor Walz’s office, the bill “makes several changes to Minnesota’s liquor laws, including raising the cap on growler sales, allowing more off-sale options for smaller breweries, and expanding license opportunities for specific cities and events.”
More specifically, the bill increases the cap on barrels sold by breweries from 20,000 to 150,000 barrels per year. The bill also permits smaller breweries to sell their beer in bottles and cans, and distilleries to sell off-sale beverages in standard size cans and open cocktail rooms. The Free the Growler Bill will also extend hours for alcohol sales during live World Cup matches and will allow cities and counties to apply for temporary on-sale licenses for events.
Most interesting for our Anoka office, the bill allows for an alcohol-permitted, outdoor “social district” in the city of Anoka. According to the bill, the city of Anoka can issue a “social district license” to any on-sale license holder located within the social district. It will be up to the city of Anoka to decide where the social district will be located, and the city will have to provide a report to the legislature about how the experiment is playing out after 2 years. The Anoka City Council is expected to make these decisions soon.