MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When Matt Lange got into the beer brewing business, serving shots wasn’t part of the plan—at least not of tequila, anyway.

But on Monday, Lake Monster Brewing in St. Paul will transform its patio into a pop-up COVID vaccine clinic and offer 300 doses of Johnson and Johnson—plus a free beer on the brewery’s tab.

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“No hard liquor just a shot of vaccine and beer,” joked Lange, founder of Lake Monster.

St. Paul Corner Drug approached Lange with the idea as a way to offer an incentive for people who are on the fence about getting a vaccine or those who aren’t making it a top priority. It was an easy sell, he said.

“If we can do some small thing to help a few hundred people and push them in the direction of getting vaccinated, we’ll do that no problem,” he said.

The local pop-up is part of a growing national trend of getting people vaccinated with an extra boost as demand wanes.

In some states, that means cash. In Detroit, if someone drives another person to get a COVID vaccine, the city in return offers $50 in pre-paid debit cards. West Virginia is offering $100 savings bonds and Maryland is paying state employees $100.

Get a shot at the Mets or Yankees stadiums and baseball fans can score free tickets.

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Minnesota hasn’t offered a state-backed incentive programs, but Gov. Tim Walz during a Friday interview on WCCO Radio endorsed the idea.

“I do think you incentivize people. I really do,” he said. “I’m going to talk to businesses and say, ‘hey if you set up a little vaccine clinic here for folks do they get a $25 gift certificate to come in?’ We should to try and help.”

Walz’s goal is to get 70% or more of eligible adults vaccinated, a threshold infectious disease experts gets closer to the coveted “herd immunity.” When the state reaches that point, the mask mandate will lift, according to the governor’s timeline.

Right now, the state boasts a 60% vaccination rate for the 16 and older population. Some restrictions lifted Friday and more will come by the end of the month.

For now, Walz and the state are making eight community vaccination sites available for walk-in appointments.

Friends Bryan Campion and Christian Mynders, both vaccinated and enjoying a beer on the Lake Monster patio Friday, said the clinic was a great idea to draw people to vaccines. They hope there are more options like it in the future.

“I love it,” Campion said. “Anything to get people to get out and get vaccinated is good for everybody.”

Lake Monster Brewery is stepping up to the plate because Lange knows the key to unlock a future beyond social distancing, masks and plexiglass—safety measures that have defined operating a business during the pandemic.

Bars and restaurants have weathered a lot of hardship this past year and a half, and the hospitality industry is ready to move forward.

“The industry needs to get out of this and the way we get out of it is getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Lange said.

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Lake Monster Brewing will host its vaccination clinic from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday on its patio at 550 Vandalia St #160, St Paul, MN 55114. Complete this form if you are interested.

Caroline Cummings