The Issues

The success of Minnesota's thriving liquor industry — which gives consumers unprecedented choices at affordable prices — comes from our current smart and balanced alcohol regulations.

Changes in our proven system could have serious repercussions for consumers and communities - including higher costs and less variety. Preserving our smart and balanced alcohol system will protect your choices and budgets.

Minnesota’s current alcohol regulations are smart and work well for us.

  • Minnesotans enjoy unprecedented product availability and consumer choice, which includes a thriving craft brewing industry.

  • Alcohol prices at the point-of-purchase are below the national average.

  • Compared to other states, we enjoy significantly lower than average rates of alcohol-related abuse and accidents.

Minnesota also has a balanced and level playing field for retailers that works well for our communities.

  • Retail locations like liquor stores, bars, and restaurants are mostly small, family-owned businesses. They create jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to the overall wellbeing of Minnesota’s economy.

  • Municipal liquor stores and bars are important sources of revenue for many local municipalities and communities. They play a unique role in our state.

  • Because of our current balanced alcohol policies and regulations, these businesses can effectively compete with large, big box stores.

The SMART Campaign SUPPORTS the three-tier system of alcohol regulations. It's smart and balanced - and has many benefits for consumers.

  • In all 50 states, alcohol is sold through a three-tier system. Beverage manufacturers, distributors, and retailers each occupy a different level, and are independent from the others — ensuring accountability to the public as well as the benefits of healthy competition.

  • It's designed to prevent vertical integration within the industry promoting competition between brands. The three-tier system is pro-consumer as it results in choice and variety, particularly to offer smaller, craft brands of spirits, beer, and wine.

  • Check out this fun video about how beer travels to Minnesota’s Target Field for Twins Games - showing the three-tier system.

The SMART Campaign OPPOSES the sale of strong beer and wine in grocery and convenience stores.

When it comes to wine, beer, and spirit selection, Minnesotans currently have unprecedented choices at affordable prices. This comes from our current smart and balanced alcohol regulations.

Some have proposed “alcohol everywhere” – where wine, beer, and spirits would be sold in virtually every grocery and convenience store. Consequently, the number of locations licensed to sell these products would potentially increase by thousands. Changes in our proven system could have serious repercussions for consumers and communities – including less variety and product choices for consumers.

  • Changes will result in less product choice for consumers. We currently have unprecedented product availability and choice. However, in states with different regulations, there is dramatically less consumer choice.

  • It’s unnecessary – grocery and convenience stores can already sell beer, wine, and liquor. As long as they follow the existing smart and balanced liquor store laws, there is no legal impediment. In fact, there are 163 stores and counting in Minnesota that already do! These stores – in every corner of the state, urban and rural, abide by current regulations to avoid minor access and provide consumer convenience.

  • Easier access to alcohol, a controlled substance, shouldn’t be available to those under 21. Liquor stores typically prohibit anyone under 21 from entering the store and employ people over 21. Grocery and convenience stores – who want alcohol on regular shelves next to other non-controlled products – have many employees under 21 and allow all ages to enter their facilities.

  • There is no evidence consumers are having difficulty obtaining alcohol. Access to alcohol is not an issue for Minnesotans.

  • Beer manufacturers have not indicated they plan to stop producing 3.2% beer. In fact, low alcohol beer is an increasing trend! One major beer manufacturer recently indicated that even if the company reduced production, over 70 packages and 12 brands will remain for sale. Besides – beer is not a grocery or convenience store profit center. The MN Beer Wholesalers Association estimates only an average of 3.7 cases a week is sold per store – this is roughly $100 a week in sales and less than $10 a week in profit.

  • Unintended fiscal impacts would hurt independent, family-run businesses and cities with municipal liquor operations. Throughout the state, cities with municipal beverage operations would lose valuable revenue. In addition, this legislation would negatively impact a municipality’s tax base, by forcing small independently owned retailers to close their businesses. Let’s not tip the current level playing field in favor of mega retailers who seek to deregulate for their own economic benefit and threaten the responsible system in place.

  • Increased access to alcohol – a controlled substance - results in greater alcohol-related societal problems. It also puts a larger burden on regulatory bodies. The World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends limiting alcohol outlet density “on the basis of sufficient evidence of a positive association between outlet density and excessive alcohol consumption and related harms.”

Arizona Beer 1.jpg

This is a picture of a grocery store’s beer selection in Arizona. Let’s keep our multitude of choices for consumers at liquor stores in Minnesota.