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Red Wing Brewery taps into new liquor law

Growlers of beer can be purchased for $20 the first fill, $16 for refill. Root beer growlers are available for $16 the first fill, $12 for refill. Every Tuesday, the brewery offers $2 off refills. (Photo courtesy of Red Wing Brewery)

By Samantha Bengs

A new state law has the Red Wing Brewery buzzing.

This spring, Gov. Mark Dayton signed a liquor policy bill into law that will allow the sale of beer growlers on Sundays. Red Wing Brewery owners Scott Kolby and William Norman celebrate the new law today with their inaugural Sunday growler sales.

“A lot of Minnesotans are pleased with the evolution of the state’s liquor laws,” Kolby said. “It is a win-win situation for everyone.”

Under the new law, taprooms and brewpubs with the proper municipal licensing will be able to sell beer in 64 ounce growler containers. The new law also allows bars and restaurants to start serving drinks at 8 a.m. on Sundays, two hours earlier than previously allowed.

Red Wing Brewery has had strong growler sales, but Kolby expects that offering their sale seven days a week will be a popular move.

“We did experience some disappointed customers, forgetting about the Sunday bans,” he said. “We can easily sell 10-20 growlers every Sunday.”

A recent addition of an extra cooler will help accommodate growing growler sales at the brewery.

“As a brew pub, we are not allowed to distribute our own beer. The only place you can find our beer is here at the brewery,” he said. “A lot of visitors are ending their time in Red Wing on a Sunday, and looking for a souvenir of the city of Red Wing to take home with them. It will be great to have growlers available any day of the week now.”

Although the new liquor laws have been met with open arms, state lawmakers again rejected a repeal of the state’s longtime ban of Sunday liquor store sales. Addressing the continued ban, Kolby continues to see the glass half full.

“If people are looking for a spirited beverage on a Sunday, they will support local businesses, be it at a winery or a brewpub,” he said. “This law will naturally enhance local economies.”