For the first time ever, brewpubs get to pour their beer at the State Fair


More than a dozen brewpubs in Minnesota were prohibited from selling beer at the State Fair. But thanks to a law passed earlier this year, they'll no longer be excluded.

Beer from 10 brewpubs is expected to be featured at this year's "Land of 10,000 Beers" Craft Beer Hall exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair, according to the Minnesota Craft Brewers' Guild website.

These brewpubs have been legal in Minnesota since before the craft beer boom, but were limited by law to selling their beer out of their restaurants, causing them to miss out on some business, MPR News notes.

However, a new legislation passed this past spring gives these microbreweries a chance to expand their audience. The law allows microbreweries to "sell kegs to licensed wholesalers for distribution exclusively to retail licenses of the State Agricultural Society during the Minnesota State Fair," the Session Daily said.

"We get calls monthly from people looking for our beer, and the law still doesn't allow us to distribute them," Peter Rifakes, founder and owner of Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis, told MPR News. "This is one small step in the evolution of our laws that allows everyone to fulfill the demand that's out there."

Last year's "Land of 10,000 Beers" exhibit drew around 100,000 people. This year's exhibit, which allows patrons to taste a variety of beers, will include nearly 200 beers from roughly 60 breweries and brewpubs, the guild notes.

Since the “Surly Bill” passed in 2011, craft breweries have been allowed to serve pints of beer at their breweries. This paved the way for the craft beer boom, but advocates in Minnesota and around the U.S. hope lawmakers will continue to modify the state's liquor laws to allow more small breweries to grow.

The Minnesota State Fair runs from Aug. 27 through Labor Day, Sept. 7.

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