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Minnesota's $3B alcohol market set for boost as Target plans another liquor store

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The liquor industry in Minnesota alone is worth an estimated $3 billion, and it could be about to get bigger as Target reveals plans to expand liquor sales to a third store.

The Minneapolis-based retail giant intends to open a liquor store in its SuperTarget store in St Paul's Midway area, the Pioneer Press reports, to add to its first Minnesota store which opened in Otsego, Minnesota, just last month.

It also filed papers last month to open a liquor store in the Knollwood SuperTarget in St Louis Park, according to the Business Journal. Target has 1,300 stores already selling liquor across 37 states.

In St. Paul, Target representatives presented a plan to replace its eating area and snack bar with an off-sale liquor store before a Union Park neighborhood group meeting, and the group's Land Use Committee gave 6-4 approval to the plan last week, the Pioneer Press notes.

It comes at a busy time for the booze industry in Minnesota, with the craft beer and distillery market booming, legislators loosening some alcohol restrictions across the state, and major retailers looking to join the action.

Maryland-based liquor superstore Total Wine this week emerged as the winner of a year-long battle to open a store on the corner of I-94 and France Avenue in Bloomington, the Star Tribune reports

The original intention was for the store to open last December, but progress was stalled by technical delays and concerns from business groups about the impact the store would have on smaller liquor retailers, the newspaper notes.

There has been a similar reaction to Target's plans among St. Paul residents commenting on the Citizens for a Better Snelling Avenue Facebook page, with one suggesting it would potentially "kill" business for the nearby Big Top and Midway liquor stores.

The Pioneer Press notes that Target has several more hurdles to clear before getting the go-ahead for its plans, with the Land Use Committee pointing out it may come up against city restrictions that state liquor stores have to be at least 1.5 miles apart.

Sunday liquor ban could be revisited

There have been several legislative victories for the liquor industry in Minnesota recently, and this continued success could lead to a renewed push to overturn the ban on liquor stores opening on Sundays, WCCO reports.

The Minnesota Senate rejected a bill in May to allow off-sale liquor establishments to open on Sundays, but State Rep. Jennifer Loon told WCCO she will look to introduce legislation that would give cities the right to vote on Sunday sales.

This year has already seen Sunday restrictions loosened for craft brewery tap rooms, MPR reports, with Gov. Mark Dayton signing into law legislation that allows them to open and sell liquor on Sundays.

And last week's elections saw several small towns across the state vote to repeal decades-old restrictions that prevented bars, restaurants and hotels from selling booze on Sundays.

In Minneapolis meanwhile, citizens voted overwhelmingly to scrap laws that insisted neighborhood restaurants cannot make more than 30 percent of their profits from alcohol sales.

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