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. 

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

  • Grocery and convenience stores can already sell strong beer — as long as they follow the existing smart and balanced laws that exist. There is no legal impediment. In fact, over 50% (135) of Minnesota's grocery stores already do! These stores abide by current regulations, avoid minor access, and provide consumer convenience. 
  • Additional exemptions specifically for grocery and convenience stores will greatly increase the availability and access to alcohol — a controlled substance. Numerous studies have demonstrated that increased access to alcohol results in greater alcohol-related societal problems, such as increased alcohol abuse, increased underage sales, and less consumer choice. It also puts a large burden on regulatory bodies. 
  • There is no evidence that consumers are having difficulty obtaining alcohol. Access to alcohol is not an issue for Minnesotans.
  • Access to alcohol should not be available for those under age 21. Liquor stores typically prohibit anyone under 21 from entering the store and only employ people over 21. Grocery/convenience stores have many employees under 21, and allow all ages to enter their facilities.
  • We should not tip the current level playing field in favor of mega retailers who seek to deregulate alcohol solely for their own economic benefit, and, in turn, threaten the responsible system in place. This expansion would benefit big box retailers at the significant detrimental expense of small mom and pop retailers that serve Minnesotan’s throughout the state.
  • Laws in place are smart, balanced, and are working! Minnesotans enjoy unprecedented product available and consumer choice, as well as prices below the national average, and enjoy significantly lower than average rates of alcohol-related abuse and accidents.
  • Beer manufacturers have not indicated that they plan to stop producing 3.2% beer. One major beer manufacturer recently indicated that even if the company reduced production, over 70 packages and 12 brands will remain for sale. Adding production from other breweries will provide a great variety of products for grocery and convenience stores to sell.