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'Baby bills' open the door a crack for Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota

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It's unlikely you'll be able to buy a case of beer or a bottle of booze on a Sunday in Minnesota anytime soon, but the ban on Sunday liquor sales might be lifted for tap rooms and the purchase of "growlers," -- 64-oz. containers of beer -- from craft breweries.

A state Senate committee Wednesday approved two measures to allow those exceptions to the Sunday ban on alcohol sales, the Associated Press reports.

State Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, who has been pushing for Sunday alcohol sales for years, said he's pleased the Commerce Committee supported the "baby bills," as small steps toward an eventual repeal of the ban.

"It's a crack in the door," said Reinert to the Star Tribune. "We will continue to push for full repeal, and meanwhile it is a way to support this burgeoning microbrew industry in Minnesota."

Reinert noted that vineyards across the state can sell bottles of wine on Sundays, but craft brewers cannot sell their products.

He acknowledged the chances of a full repeal are slim during this legislative session. The Sunday sales ban is supported by many small liquor store owners, who want to be able to close their shop one day a week without worrying about losing business to competitors, according to the Star Tribune. Gov. Mark Dayton has said he would sign a repeal bill.

Minnesota is one of 12 states that doesn’t allow in-store liquor sales on Sunday. Sixteen states have repealed bans since 2000, and all four states that border Minnesota allow Sunday sales, according to the Associated Press.

The three measures approved Wednesday are expected to be folded into a Senate omnibus liquor bill. The Minnesota House will now hear the bills and move them forward.

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