All Eyes on Oklahoma
As Minnesotans have wrestled with Sunday Sales, Wine in Grocery and the like, no one has had to deal with such sweeping changes that may come our way as a result of what is happening in Oklahoma. Oklahoma and Utah make up over 85% of all 3.2 beer produced in the U.S. by major breweries. I will discuss Utah's involvement later. To date, only 6 states sell 3.2 beer. These states are Oklahoma, Utah, Kansas, Connecticut, Colorado, Montana and of course Minnesota. Oklahoma has seven constitutional amendment proposals but only one will try and "modernize" their liquor laws.
State question 792 calls for liquor and wine in grocery stores, cold beer in liquor stores, allowing higher content beer to be sold and raising the legal age to sell alcohol from 16 to 18. The Oklahoma Retail Liquor Association is of course, opposing this law change.
Short of the legal age to sell going up, the other proposals would decimate the off premise "mom and pop" stores. This is a blatant attempt by big box retail to dominate and take over. Now enter the great state of Utah...
If Oklahoma allows for strong beer to be sold, the need for 3.2 beer goes away. If the production of 3.2 beer is no longer needed in Oklahoma, that washes away over 56% of all of the 3.2 beer produced! If that large of a piece of the 3.2 keg goes away, Utah is poised to discuss their own interpretation of not having access to it.
So you see, if both states get rid of 3.2, Minnesota by only taking up around 3% of the beer produced, will be left with the dilemma of not having access. And if the grocers and convenience stores do not have access to 3.2 beer, they will want strong beer. After strong beer they will ask for wine and eventually hard spirits. Utah is hoping to not deal with this until 2018 but if Oklahoma passes Question 792, they will have to deal with the fallout sooner than later.
On a side note: Walmart has donated more than $1.6 million to the Yes on 792 campaign. The opponents of Yes on 792 have raised just $10,495. This group is comprised of a handful of liquor store owners. So if you are not convinced that big box wants to completely dominate the off premise business across the U.S., nothing will convince you.
Is Sunday Sales important to the small operator? Yes! Will getting rid of the production of 3.2 beer adversely effect off premise operators in Minnesota? Yes! This is why your support of the MLBA and its journey through these troubled waters is so critical.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
MLBA Executive Director
Midwest Expo 2016
The 2016 Midwest Expo was a hugely popular event with record attendance on a beautiful warm and sunny fall day. The show moved this year to the Airport Hilton Hotel, near the Mall of America and was held on Sunday, October 16th.
The day started out with a SALES alcohol training before the trade show began at 2PM. Attendees met with wine, spirits and beer vendors as well as several electronic gaming companies, ice vendors, insurance companies, sign companies, ride programs, shelving, beer line cleaners and many, many more!
There were two informative seminars put on by MLBA Allied members. A wine seminar/tasting by Vinocopia and an Affordable Care Act Compliance Seminar put on by brand new MLBA Allied Member Twin City Group.
A fantastic steak, walleye and chicken dinner (sponsored by IL Casualty with wine donated by Vinocopia) was followed by the annual MLBA Hospy Awards Presentation. We had 1 member inducted into the Hospy Hall of Fame (Jack Lanners of MGM Wine & Spirits) as well as several industry awards. Please see the Nov-Dec PROOF which will be out next week for all the winners.
The day ended in the lounge area with live music provided by “The Todd Douglas Band”
For a photo album and complete vendor list: click here.
Special thanks to dinner sponsor Illinois Casualty Company; wine with dinner sponsor Vinocopia; ice sponsor Ace Ice and all the record number of vendors!
Safe Rides Coming Your Way?
I seem to know Minnesota better than my home state of Wisconsin. Remember, I did not choose to be born in the Great State of Wisconsin, it was beyond my control. For the first 14 years of my 15+ years at the MLBA, I was in charge of membership generation and alcohol server training. I got to see parts of Minnesota very few folks get to see and meet license holders and their staff along the way. For the metro area, getting a cab and a safe ride home is seemingly easy. With services like DDi where you and your vehicle get home safely, out of the metro area retailers often rely on a friend, an acquaintance or a friendly stranger who is willing to give you a lift. The MLBA wants to change that.
In 2017, the MLBA wants something that it has never had. We want to get your customers home as safe as you do. The return customer is your bread and butter and if you snag a new customer, you are ahead of the game. Every licensee in Minnesota that I have talked to feels the same way. The unfortunate part is, not every community has access to a safe ride program. We want to change that.
I mentioned Wisconsin earlier for a reason. I was born and raised there. I still have family there and for generations, my family was in the hospitality business. I had a great uncle who owned restaurants and golf courses and a grandfather who owned several bowling alleys. All of these businesses that my family owned were proud members of the Tavern League of Wisconsin. They belonged because of the legislative support it gave them and they all felt they needed to give back to the industry who had given them so much.
Wisconsin has its own interpretation of a SafeRide program. In 1999, The TLW brought to the legislature Act 109. This was to establish a surcharge on every DWI conviction. This money was to only be used for an alternative transportation from a Class B license to the customer's home. A class B license in Wisconsin is a tavern or a restaurant. The TLW administers the program with the Department of Transportation's oversight.
Any local chapter who wishes to participate needs to send a letter of request for funds. The normal amount requested may not exceed $10,000. On approval, the local chapters of the TLW make all decisions on the program including days and hours of operation, area of coverage, costs of rides, etc. If an area is not serviced by a cab company, you may be able to set up a "good samaritan" program. In addition, the local chapter is responsible for "raising" an equal amount of money as the initial grant. This may be done in a variety of ways.
Now I do not know if the MLBA proposal will mimic the TLW's. But what I do know is that there is a glaring need to get your customer's home and I want to find a way to get that done! I have been working with the TLW and the MLBA lobbyists to craft legislation that could get a program like this done. The TLW has seen major decreases in DWI offenses and more importantly, decreases in DWI fatalities.
Stay tuned for how this will play out during the 2017 Legislative Session which is scheduled to begin on January 3rd, 2017.
News From Alcohol & Gambling Enforcement
Shipping from a Retail Store
Properly licensed Minnesota off-sale liquor stores may ship product anywhere in Minnesota where legal under the delivery rules found in Minnesota Rules 7515.0580.
Minnesota Rule 7515.0580 regulates the delivery of alcoholic beverages by licensed Minnesota off sale licensed liquor retailers. Deliveries shall only be to persons at least 21 years of age and to persons that are not obviously intoxicated. Off sale licensees shall not deliver alcohol to other alcohol beverage licensed establishments for resale. Nor shall off sale retailers deliver in municipalities where delivery is prohibited by local ordinance.
Licensed Minnesota off sale retailers and their employees making alcohol beverage deliveries must carry an invoice itemizing the items being sold and delivered, date of purchase, and upon delivery must obtain the signature of the person accepting delivery and by the deliverer. This delivery invoice is required to be retained on the retailer’s licensed premises for a period of six months. If a retailer hires a delivery service, the record requirements placed on the retailer remains.
Licensed off sale retailers may refuse to sell or deliver alcoholic beverages to persons whom they have reason to believe is ineligible to buy such liquor, that being someone underage, someone intending on providing the alcohol to an underage person, or someone they believe will resell the liquor.
A liquor store’s off-sale liquor license in Minnesota does not mean they have a legal right to ship product into other states. Whether or not a Minnesota retailer could do business in another state is going to be dictated by that state’s alcoholic beverage regulations. Most states are like Minnesota in that they do not recognize an out of state retail liquor license as valid in their state. Some states have passed legislation to require out-of-state retailers to obtain a license in their state often called an out of state shippers permit or license. I think the thought process on the part of the these states is to require out-of-state retailers to be accountable and provide proof of financial responsibility and pay for a license and collect taxes just like liquor stores inside their state have to do.
When Minnesota retailers ask me if they can sell their product into other states I advised that they contact the state they wish to do business in and inquire into the legality of the practice.
Liquor stores located outside of Minnesota may not legally ship alcoholic beverage products direct to Minnesota consumers due to those stores do not hold valid off-sale liquor licenses in Minnesota. Minnesota statutes do allow Minnesota wineries and wineries located outside of the state to ship up to 2 cases of wine a year direct to Minnesota consumers.
Michael T. McManus,
Supervisor, Regulatory Investigations Alcohol Enforcement