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MN Growler law details hurting overall growler sales

Discussion in 'Midwest' started by ZAP, Oct 20, 2012.

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  1. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (3,475) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    I feel the details of the MN Growler law hurt overall growler sales. That is my opinion. It needs to change like it is in Wisconsin where it is up to the brewery/brewpub whether they want to fill growlers without their name on it. Almost every place in Wisconsin just fills up whatever growler you bring in. Tyranena is one of the exceptions but they have let me trade in other growlers for ones with their labels before so it worked out. I've yet to see a MN brewpub willing to do that.

    Here's my deal. I have 21 growlers in my house. I am not buying anymore glass. I already have no room and to be honest 21 is too many anyhow. My collection includes:

    4 Fitgers
    3 Town Hall
    3 Rock Bottom
    3 Tyranena
    1 Granite City
    1 Leech Lake
    1 Twin Ports (superior, wi now named something different)
    1 Great Dane
    1 Kuhnhuenn
    3 McCanns (out of business)

    With all these new places opening up I would love to support them by purchasing growlers but I am not adding anymore glass to my collection. If I could trade in some of my old glass for their labeled glass I would gladly do that. For example I have no need for McCanns, Kuhnhuenn, Great Dane or Twin Ports anymore although I do take them when I go to Wisconsin because like I said I can get them filled anywhere basically.

    Does anyone see any hope that this law will change in Minnesota eventually? If not what are the odds of places taking trade-ins?

    Also I understand the law as it sits is kind of open to interpretation and at least one Minnesota brewpub will fill any growlers that are 64 ounces. Any truth to that?
    charlieq and garymuchow like this.
  2. shawnp

    shawnp Aspirant (235) Jan 15, 2010 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Correct me if I'm wrong but in MN, pubs etc. only fill their own and that won't change. In Iowa, as long as the surgeon general warning is on the bottle, you can get it filled anywhere.
  3. olympuszymurgus

    olympuszymurgus Zealot (582) Nov 24, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    It wont change because nobody makes money off it changing. Want to buy a half gallon to go? buy 3-6 bucks in glass. It's good for the business and bad for the people, quite normal in this world right now.

    Maybe if you could get bars behind the idea of getting the law changed to something similar to WA where bars sell to-go including filling growlers of any size. That would be good for the bars and thus there could be money behind it. Granted the liquor stores would fight it, as would all the twatly prohibition groups. Laws dont get made so they make sence, they get made when people with money say so.
    motorhed, franklinn, GeezLynn and 3 others like this.
  4. morimech

    morimech Poo-Bah (2,954) Nov 6, 2006 Minnesota

    I didn't know McCann's closed. When did that happen?
  5. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (1,715) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Supporter Beer Trader

  6. morimech

    morimech Poo-Bah (2,954) Nov 6, 2006 Minnesota

    I agree with ZAP but I do not think this is the most pressing issue for MN beer drinkers. The ones that will bring additional revenue to the government will be the ones most likely to get changed in our favor.

    I also have a couple of growlers that will never get filled at the brewery again. I take them with me to Casanova's to get some use out of them. Either that or bin them.
  7. mnbearsfan

    mnbearsfan Aspirant (249) Dec 25, 2009 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    If you do trading, go to casanovas and get a growler filled in something you will never use again.
  8. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (1,715) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Supporter Beer Trader

    It's been a while* (too long) since I've picked up a growler, but do Minnesota brewpubs issue a "growler credit"? I mean, is it possible to return a growler to the brewpub from which it was originally purchased in exchange for a credit in the amount of the price of the initial deposit?

    *I used to bring them to house parties, mostly, in place of the standard bottle of Red, thinking they'd be re-used and I'd hook someone on Town Hall or Barley John's. Wishful-thinking, mostly. :rolling_eyes:
  9. morimech

    morimech Poo-Bah (2,954) Nov 6, 2006 Minnesota

    I have found Casanova's growler fills not to hold up very well. Have you sent one out on trade and had good results?
  10. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (3,393) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Not sure if they still do but Town Hall would credit back extra empty growlers for food/beer purchases on premise but < what you paid for them IIRC
    Chaz likes this.
  11. Lifeofbrian

    Lifeofbrian Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2010 Minnesota

    Some friends will purchase a growler and then go to the car an pour it into a used growler of your choice. I know it doesn't help your issue. You didn't hear that from me.
  12. GeezLynn

    GeezLynn Champion (856) May 10, 2009 Colorado

    Town Hall was my rude introduction to MN growler laws when I moved here. It doesn't exactly encourage consumers to come in and buy 4-5 growlers for an event.

    Part of the beauty of growlers (outside of MN), aside from freshness, is that you cut down on packaging waste. I hold the breweries at least partially, if not mostly responsible for this problem. And like the OP, it definitely affects my purchasing decisions.

    It's one thing if breweries refuse to fill growlers from another brewery. But to not give someone a complete refund on what is essentially a deposit on bottles that the brewery re-uses is completely anti-consumer.
  13. mnbearsfan

    mnbearsfan Aspirant (249) Dec 25, 2009 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Can someone from town hall respond or does someone know if they give credits for their own growlers if you bring them back?
  14. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (2,929) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    They've always given me credit when I bring mine in.
  15. mnbearsfan

    mnbearsfan Aspirant (249) Dec 25, 2009 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    I know if you do an exchange, they do not charge you for a new one. My question is if I bring in 3 and leave with 1. Will the give me a 6 dollar credit if I get some food or drink. Not looking to get a 6 dollar credit off the beer I take to go. Someone said something above regarding this.
  16. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (2,929) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    They've always offered to credit my growler returns toward food, pints, another growler or plain old cash.
  17. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (3,393) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    they will not give you cash... food pints and another growler yes but not cash unless they changed
  18. garymuchow

    garymuchow Poo-Bah (2,837) Aug 31, 2001 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Mankato Brewery said they'd give credit for a pint of what they have on tap.
    Chaz likes this.
  19. KarlHungus

    KarlHungus Poo-Bah (2,929) Feb 19, 2005 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    You're probably right. It has been quite a while since I last brought a growler back, and my memory isn't what it used to be.
  20. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (3,475) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    A lot of this discussion boils down to people having too many glass growlers in their possession and being reluctant to add any more....not good for all these new places...the old stand byes like Town Hall and Fitgers will always get my $ first as I have their glass growlers already in place and know what I am getting. Top notch stuff. I'd love to experiement with some growlers from the new places but like I said I have too many growlers as is...now if they could fill some of the glass I already have or would trade in growlers I don't need for ones with their label...different story...
  21. beerloserLI

    beerloserLI Defender (647) Apr 2, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    Fucking bullshit. Thankfully all the breweries and beer distributors by me do not discriminate growlers. It should be about selling beer. I don't care where you stand on politics this is one area where the gov't needs to fuck off. God damn pennies on the dollar.
  22. cmannes

    cmannes Disciple (379) Mar 15, 2009 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    I don't have much to add. Other than, if we had more sane growler laws, I could finally "waste" my money on one of those shiney Aluminum ones. Damn they're pretty.
    Ish1 likes this.
  23. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (1,715) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Supporter Beer Trader

    Frankly ZAP, you might want to consider recycling some of these one-way containers.

    Aside from that, there may be some (negligible) trade value if you were to fill one or more of those growlers wiith a beer from one of the many Wisconsin bars or brewpubs that isn't so choosy about whose (or which) empty growler that they will fill.

    At any rate, I doubt highly that there will be a large change in growler laws in Minnesota before the next year rolls-around (and I have little doubt that one of the Minnesota Beer Activists will want to correct me on that :wink:).
  24. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,287) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    You know, I get that breweries have to follow state labeling laws, but there's no reason why breweries in states that require labels for growlers can't at least offer the option of a blank growler with a paper self-adhesive label that can be easily removed and/or covered with a new label the next purchase or at the next location.

    Charge 25¢ of half a buck for the label if they insist but to ONLY have permanently labeled (ACL) growlers and then make people BUY the bottle is just BS. (Why I remember a time when the breweries owned the bottles and charged customers a whoppin' 2¢ each... oh, and 52¢ for the reusable cardboard shell...return 'em and you got your money back.)
    charlieq likes this.
  25. dc55110

    dc55110 Aspirant (282) Oct 24, 2010 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    In college the majority of our furniture was built out of returnable cases, tables, chairs, TV stands. We'd save all our cases until the end of the school year (along with all our kegs), then return them en masse, and throw another party with the deposit funds!
    copslovebeer likes this.
  26. charlieq

    charlieq Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Minnesota

    Here's another idea along the lines of jesskidden's: Why not a universal Minnesota Craft Beer Growler that's imprinted with the names/logos of participating brewers from across the state? If you had one of these, it would be exchanged or refilled at any of the participating breweries. This would cut down on duplicate glass and promote the industry.

    It would take some work with the liquor board and the brewers, but it might be possible to implement without forcing a change in the law. At the very least, a project like this might get the state to recognize its unintended consequences of the law as written.

    If anyone thinks this has merit and has ideas on how we could get this done, let me know. I've been thinking about this every since hauling some unusuable growlers back here from Colorado this spring.
    laymansbeerfan likes this.
  27. portableparty

    portableparty Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2010 Minnesota

    I know as of June Flat Earth gave you a credit! I know one time someone brought in x amount of growlers and got a fill for free.
  28. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (1,715) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Supporter Beer Trader

    I thought I'd add this here for those interested (rather than start an entirely new thread): Save the Growler.*

    *Also on social media.
  29. bflattum

    bflattum Initiate (23) Feb 11, 2012 Minnesota

    Thanks for posting, officially kicking off the campaign in the next few weeks, but trying to at least inform people of what our intentions our. The website lays out the basics, once a bill is introduced we will be sending out more information as to how people can help out.
    Penguin3200 likes this.
  30. morimech

    morimech Poo-Bah (2,954) Nov 6, 2006 Minnesota

    I would rather do away with the branding requirements than raising or eliminating the cut-off limit. But it does sound like potential legislation that has a chance of succeeding.
  31. PedrosVoodoo

    PedrosVoodoo Initiate (123) Dec 17, 2012 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    I know Steel Toe refunds the deposit on the growlers. I seen people just get there $5 back or pay a buck for a Provider.
  32. mjryan

    mjryan Zealot (571) Dec 22, 2007 Minnesota

    There are just so many things that need to change in Mn regarding the regulation of breweries. I don't know where to begin, but I will say that the current restrictive growler regulations have lost Mn breweries my business.
  33. jodan

    jodan Initiate (0) Jul 24, 2008 California

    Any chance you'd be pushing for something that would allow breweries to fill growlers other than their own, or allow them to affix a label etc? I know here in CA that limits alot of us from buying growlers when we would otherwise, due to needing a growler from each brewery.
    laymansbeerfan likes this.
  34. theCoder

    theCoder Disciple (393) Oct 24, 2011 Minnesota
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    My recent trip to Duluth had me at Canal Park Brewery where I picked up a Brauler. I was chatting with one of the head guys there while sampling beers to figure out what to fill the beauty with and mentioned how much of a bummer it was only they could fill the thing. Well much to my surprise he said he would and they could fill any growler. They have to on the sticker after they seal it (plastic + heat gun) the sticker they affix must have the brewery name and address on it plus what's in the growler (or Brauler in my case).

    He said the trick is each brewery tends to seal and label them differently so he has been trying to get together with various breweries to see what they do, right now he was talking with Fitgers and working on making that work...

    I was quite surprised by this, and would love to see this actually happen at more places and be 100% true. I may test it next time I'm up there bring my Brauler and another growler and get them both filled (seriously I wanted one of their tripel and brown ale both amazing).

    Or obviously the easiest method would be ease the law.
  35. Johnny5

    Johnny5 Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2008 Minnesota

    My experience with Town Hall has been credit for up to two returned growlers on each new growler purchased. I brought in six empty growlers, bought two. For these I received credit for four empty growlers towards the purchase of the two filled. For the remaining two empty growlers returned I was given a Town Hall business card signed by the bartender indicating credit for two empty growlers for future use so I didn't have to save them for the next visit. I've received cards for credit on two separate occasion, the last probably a year ago. Before I was aware of the future credit my initial thought was similar to ZAPs (feeling discouraged from buying more growlers) but I felt the future credit issued was a fair compromise. Because of it I'm less concerned about the amount of growlers sitting at home when considering how many more to bring home. As for credit for food, drinks, etc. I can't say as I haven't tried that exchange. My guess would be only credit for growler purchases but that's only a guess.
  36. scruggin

    scruggin Initiate (20) Sep 10, 2008 Minnesota

    The last few times I've returned multiples to Town Hall and walked away with less I've gotten the business card as well. On my next visit I remember there being a minimum purchase amount ($20?) for being able to use it.
  37. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (1,715) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Supporter Beer Trader

  38. mjryan

    mjryan Zealot (571) Dec 22, 2007 Minnesota

    I like the idea of having something like a universal Mn Brewers Guild growler. Put the name or logo of all the members on one growler that can be used at any of the participating breweries. Not sure if it's even legal.
    yock and laymansbeerfan like this.
  39. cmannes

    cmannes Disciple (379) Mar 15, 2009 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    I tried to read the law. https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=340A.301 but it gets a bit lawyer-y.

    I suspect the trick is the bit that says:

    And that is defined seperately from the description of the adhesive band/strip/sleeve, which only has the name & address of the brewer.

    So to be perfectly unquestionably legal, have a bottle with your logo and stickers with your address. Going beyond that, could be seen as pushing the bounderies, and legal cases can be expensive, even if you are right.
  40. bflattum

    bflattum Initiate (23) Feb 11, 2012 Minnesota

    We looked at working on changing labeling laws, but it would be a moot point if a bunch of breweries suddenly can no longer sell growlers (hence the reason we are working the on the production limit first). I can safely say I am among those who has far too many growlers littering my closet though...
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