To 'bypass' restrictive Minnesota liquor laws, Tattersall to open destination distillery in Wisconsin

The distillery says the move will allow it to grow production while maintaining its Minneapolis operations.
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Minneapolis' Tattersall Distilling has announced it will be opening a "destination distillery," but it will be in Wisconsin due to Minnesota's "restrictive" liquor laws.

The craft spirits manufacturer, which operates a cocktail room at 1620 Central Ave. NE, confirmed Thursday it plans to open its new venue and second production facility in River Falls this fall.

The 75,000-square-foot facility features "indoor and outdoor event spaces, an on-site restaurant, a large retail market and expanded production capabilities," that will allow the distillery to "grow production while maintaining its cocktail room in Minneapolis."

The reason it's opening in Wisconsin and not Minnesota, the company says, is due to Minnesota's liquor law that prohibits a microdistillery from operating a cocktail room or selling products directly to guests if they exceed production of 40,000 proof gallons.

Tattersall says it was on track to exceed that cap in 2019, and while the pandemic forced the closure of its cocktail room in Minneapolis, the company plans to reopen this summer with expanded seating.

The company says it has made "numerous efforts" along with the Minnesota Distillers Guild to call for changes to the law from the state's Legislature, with no success.

"We’ve been on the hunt for a second location for over two years," says Jon Kreidler, founder and CEO of Tattersall Distilling. "Because of Minnesota’s restrictive liquor laws, to maintain our presence in Minneapolis, we were forced to look outside of the state’s borders.

"To stay as close as possible, we landed on River Falls and couldn’t be more excited. Not only do Dan (Oskey, fellow co-founder) and I have personal ties to Wisconsin, but the town has a focus on sustainability and renewables which aligns perfectly with Tattersall’s brand and vision. Not to mention, we’ve got the Kinnickinnic River, mountain bike trails, hiking, golf and more in our new backyard."

When open, the destination distillery will have a full-service restaurant and cocktail bar with seating for up to 150 people, and an outdoor patio complete with fire pits and lawn games capable of handling up to 250 guests.

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It'll also have an amphitheater "ideal for outdoor wedding ceremonies, festivals, concerts and markets," and a "grand ballroom" that can accommodate 420 guests.

Furthermore, the "majority" of Tattersall's production will be moved to River Falls, with Wisconsin's liquor laws allowing the destination distillery to sell "unlimited spirits to guests."

The new venue will be powered by 100% renewable energy, with a solar array generating 472,000 kWh of electricity a year, with the facility also having a rainwater harvesting system.

Changes to liquor laws are tough to pass

Major changes to Minnesota's liquor laws have proven difficult to pass the state's Legislature, with the liquor store lobby, Teamsters, and cities with municipal liquor sales retaining support from members of both sides of the aisle.

While the state eventually passed a Sunday liquor sales bill after years of trying, going into effect in 2017, more recent efforts to expand alcohol sales have been stymied.

In December, a pandemic-related bill that would have allowed restaurants to sell to-go cocktails and liquor and permitted all breweries to sell growlers failed in the Senate due to GOP opposition, despite getting bipartisan support in the House.

New bills proposed this year include a measure that would raise the cap on when breweries must stop selling growlers in their taprooms, and one that would allow smaller breweries to sell their products in 12-ounce or 16-ounce cans from their taprooms (currently they can only sell them in 'crowler' or 'growler' size for takeout).

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