6 Minnesota breweries form alliance, push for change in state growler cap

Several Minnesota breweries are too big to sell growlers. They're again seeking to change that.
Publish date:

Six Minnesota breweries are joining together to call on lawmakers to remove the state's cap on who can sell growlers. 

The breweries – Castle Danger, Fulton, Indeed, Lift Bridge, Schell's and Surly – are part of an initiative called the Alliance of Minnesota Craft Breweries. They're pushing to #FreeTheGrowler by seeking a repeal of state law that prohibits breweries that produce 20,000 or more barrels of beer a year from selling their beer in growlers (64-ounce containers). 

Currently, five Minnesota breweries – Castle Danger, Fulton, Schell's, Surly and Summit – are too large to sell growlers, while some others are growing and could reach that point in the near future. (Summit didn't join the alliance because its taproom sales account for less than 1% of the company's annual revenue, according to the Business Journal.)

Opponents of the law say it prevents breweries from growing because they have to either choose to stay under the 20,000 barrel cap or stop selling growlers, Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Marys Point, said in a video in support of the #FreeTheGrowler movement.

For Castle Danger, which was forced to stop selling growlers in October 2019, Owner Lon Larson said the brewery saw an immediate 30% decrease in sales from the taproom, according to the Stillwater Gazette

The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild has previously said the loss of growlers can cost a brewery upwards of $300,000.

Meanwhile, proponents of the law are concerned not having the cap could hurt smaller breweries and retailers, while also wanting to preserve the distribution system that's currently in place. 

Some of these breweries have been pushing for a change in this law for a few years, but the issue has become more poignant amid the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns that have prevented taprooms from being open, forcing breweries to dump their product

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Last month, a bill during a special session had bipartisan support to temporarily remove the growler cap. However, it wasn't included in a final bill after it failed to pass in the GOP-controlled Senate.

With the Minnesota Legislature heading back into session on Tuesday, this new alliance of breweries will push for a change in law once again. The last time the state's growler cap was updated was in 2015.

It's unclear if this will be the year that the Minnesota Legislature finally loosens the growler cap. The state of Minnesota does have a long history of moving slowly when updating the state's antiquated liquor laws – remember the years-long battle to allow liquor stores to sell alcohol on Sundays?

Next Up

covid, vaccine

Minnesotans eligible for COVID shots only need to pre-register once for vaccine lottery

This is good news for people worried that they'd need to sign up every week.

police lights

2 people charged in separate Minneapolis homicides that happened hours apart

A woman is accused of stabbing a man in the chest over $60, while a man is accused of accidentally shooting a victim on the man's birthday.

House for sale

Despite pandemic, Twin Cities housing market set records in 2020

Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.

Target store inside

Target unveils 'limited-edition' home, lifestyle collection with Levi Strauss

The new collection will be available in some stores and everyone online Feb. 28.

Tim Walz

Walz's $52.4 billion budget increases school spending, raises taxes on wealthy

He says the budget will help level the playing field and ensure all Minnesotans have a fair shot at economic recovery,

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 12.55.00 PM

Pictures from Minnesota GOP's Deadwood retreat show no masks, no distancing

The pictures were shared in Chair Jennifer Carnahan's latest email newsletter.

Alexus Norberg

Search for girl, 14, missing from St. Cloud

The teen left her home without her parents' permission.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 26

The health departments provided new data daily at 11 a.m.


What health officials know, don't know about Brazil P.1 variant

Minnesota health officials confirmed the first case of the P.1 variant in the U.S.

christopher and banks

Christopher & Banks closing stores for good, laying off 361 people at Plymouth facility

The layoffs began earlier this month and will continue through March.

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 8.56.43 AM

Tributes, donations after death of popular South High School teacher

The fundraiser had raised more than $9,000 of its $15,000 as of Tuesday.


Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 10.40.44 PM

This is the last weekend for growlers at Castle Danger brewery

The brewer has become too large to keep selling them under Minnesota law.

Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 10.55.46 PM

Bill would double the cap on growlers following calls from brewers

It comes after a popular brewery was forced to stop growler sales due to its size.

Screen Shot 2019-07-03 at 10.55.46 PM

Castle Danger can no longer sell growlers, so is seeking a law change

It'll have to stop selling them by the end of September.

Screen Shot 2019-02-15 at 11.42.13 AM

6 MN breweries win medals at Best of Craft Beer Awards

The big winner on the night was the Spilled Grain Brewhouse.

Northern Minnesota brewery destroyed in fire

Portage Brewing says its entire brewery has been burned.