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Talking Points: The Push For Sunday Liquor Sales

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two state lawmakers recently offered several bills that would achieve the same goal: allowing Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota.

The bills range from allowing state-wide sales on Sunday to just allowing sales at breweries and tap rooms across the state.

Another proposal by Sen. Roger Reinert of Duluth and Rep. Jennifer Loon of Eden Prairie would let individual cities decide if they want to allow Sunday sales.

Tap rooms around the state can sell their beer on every day of the week but Sunday. For years, proposals to allow Sunday liquor sales have failed at the Capitol.

But with the boom in microbreweries, supporters believe this could be the year that Sunday sales, in some form, could get passed.

Northbound Smokehouse Brew Pub in Minneapolis, owned by Jamie Robinson, is just one of the many new brew pubs and tap rooms around the metro.

State law says these establishments can only sell their craft beers in 750-ml bottles called bombers, or 64-oz growlers.

“There is a demand for growlers on Sunday,” Robinson said. “We don’t think just because it is Sunday we shouldn’t be able to sell growlers and make that amount of money.”

Robinson is not alone. Local brew pubs and tap rooms are teaming up under the banner of a group calling itself Minnesota Beer Activists.

Their online petition for Sunday sales has more than 3,000 signatures. And their commercial on YouTube argues that Sunday sales prohibition is outdated.

Thirty-eight other states, including all of the states that border Minnesota, allow Sunday liquor sales.

And many liquor stores in Minnesota border towns support Sunday sales so they can compete. But at many other small liquor stores, owners and managers are against the change.

Eric Hisle of Rite Liquor in St. Paul is one of them.

“We are a family-run business and Sunday is a day to spend time with our families,” Hisle said.

Every time this has come up in the past, it has been soundly defeated. But this year, the lawmakers are hoping beer lovers may push them to success.

There is popular support. A recent Star Tribune poll found 49 percent of those surveyed support Sunday sales.

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