Strix the harbinger
guards the exit gate, quizzing all
Who will pass this night?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Surly Bill

"We brewed beer for people who didn't know they wanted to drink it until they had it." - Omar Ansari


I added Surly Brewing (no relationship to Surly Bicycles, also based in Minnesota) to my blog list. Surly Brewing, based in Brooklyn Park, brews arguably the best beer in the state of Minnesota. Of their 30 beers graded by Beer Advocate most are A rated with a couple of  A+ and half a dozen B+.  My point is that they brew some pretty good stuff.

Surly is small, at capacity with 15,000 barrels a year. They want to expand to 100,000 barrels, with a beer hall and beer garden. Present Minnesota law requires any brewery making over 3500 barrels be sold through distributors, so the $20 million expansion is on hold. A proposed new law, refered to as The Surly Bill, was pretty much ignored ...  until legislators realized that there were over a million views of the Surly Facebook Page. Facebook and other new media are putting some serious pressure on the legislators.

It's ironic, Wisconsin is fighting for labor rights; while next door, Minnesota is fighting for beer rights. It's all a matter of priorities I guess. (I am seriously behind the protests in Madison too.)

Minnesota's liquor laws are among the most restrictive in the nation, and a powerful force at the Capitol hopes to keep it that way. The state's liquor lobby has effectively quashed a litany of efforts over the years to allow liquor sales on Sunday or sell wine in grocery stores. Lawmakers and industry experts note that the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association is a well-oiled lobbying machine in St. Paul, with an ability to tap liquor store and bar owners around the state for cash and a phone call to any given lawmaker. In this photo:] Frank Ball is the executive director and a lobbyist for the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Assoc. and much of his time is spent at the Capitol.

2 comments:

Chris said...

I became "politically active" and emailed my state legislators on this topic. Both wrote back saying that they support the Surly Bill and one of them even supports Sunday sales!

Gunnar Berg said...

I just clicked on your name to verify which 'Chris' you are. That is thee most misleading profile I've even read. Nice work.