MLBA Board urges Gov. Walz to approve “take out liquor” for bars and restaurants


MLBA Members:

Today the MLBA sent a letter to Governor Tim Walz urging him to approve “take out liquor” for bars and restaurants. Essentially, we believe on-sale establishments currently closed to sit-down customers should be allowed to sell beer and wine in closed containers to customers who are also purchasing a take-out food order. We also suggest several parameters for this effort.

Rest assured the Governor, his staff, and legislative leaders in the state of Minnesota know that the licensed beverage industry stands together and deeply needs assistance now and in the future.

The MLBA is here to serve you.

Tony Chesak
MLBA Executive Director


March 21, 2020

Governor Tim Walz
75 Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Suite 130
St. Paul, MN 55155

RE:   MLBA Board supports “Take Out Liquor” to help small businesses

Dear Governor Walz:

The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA) represents Minnesota’s independent, family-run liquor retailers, both bars and restaurants (on-sale) and liquor stores (off-sale).
The Emergency Executive Order 20-04 signed on March 16, 2020 closed on-premise service for bars and restaurants in Minnesota. Those employees and employers are now facing a devastating situation with little income, many job losses, and continued expenses and obligations. Some restaurants and bars will not survive closure without immediate and decisive action from the government. We believe in prioritizing the safety of our employees and guests, and also seek mitigation of the devastating economic effects.

Today, the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association Board of Directors voted unanimously to support an additional emergency order seeking a temporary change to allow all current on-sale alcohol retailers to sell pre-packaged alcoholic beverages off-sale – both in carry-out and delivery – being mindful of public safety, with the following guidelines:

  • Bars and restaurants would be required to sell food with all take-out liquor orders
  • All alcohol sold off-sale would be in pre-packaged, closed containers. (No mixed drinks allowed.)
  • Beer sales (and seltzers, ciders, malt alternative beverages, etc.) be limited to pre-packaged products, with a maximum amount of 144 oz per order. (This is twelve cans of 12 oz beer or 9 cans of 16 oz beer).
  • Wine sales be limited to 1500 ml of wine, which is the equivalent of two bottles of 750 ml wine.
  • Hard liquor (spirits) not be allowed for off-sale by bars and restaurants due to public safety concerns.
  • Current rules pertaining to customer age identification would stay in effect by following current Minnesota Statues 340a.503.
  • No customers would be served with obvious signs of intoxication and operators would be required to follow current Minnesota Statues 340a.502.
  • This temporary provision would only be allowed until the emergency order that restricts bars and restaurants to be closed has been lifted, or as directed by further Emergency Order.

Other states have also issued executive orders allowing “take out liquor” including Texas, New York, Maryland, Colorado, Illinois, and New Hampshire.

Craft breweries who produce under 20,000 barrels are currently allowed to deliver their product. Minnesota Admin rule allows a “off-sale liquor retailer” to deliver product to consumers. Under Minnesota Statute, small brewers are given a “small brewer off-sale” license, which would technically make them an off-sale liquor retailer for malt liquor. This MLBA recommendation does not impact current rules regarding craft breweries and their deliveries.

Thank you for your consideration.

Tony Chesak
MLBA Executive Director