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A Steel Toe Taproom? Council Considering It

Following the passage of the "Surly bill" last year, breweries can now sell their brews by the pint on-site.

A Steel Toe Taproom? Council Considering It A Steel Toe Taproom? Council Considering It

Steel Toe Brewing in St. Louis Park could soon be selling its brews by the pint on-site if City Council gets behind the plan.

Council is considering implementing a "taproom" ordinance, which would allow breweries to sell their own beers—and only their own beers—on the premises.

Last year, Surly Brewing made a push at the legislature to allow just this. Before passage of the "Surly bill," Minnesota breweries couldn't sell pints on-site. Now, taprooms are popping up at Twin Cities locales such as Fulton Beer, Harriet Brewing and Lift Bridge Brewery.

City councils have been behind the surge, as the cities of Stillwater, St. Paul and Minneapolis—among others—have passed taproom ordinances based on the new state law.

On Monday, St. Louis Park City Council discussed for the first time the potential of creating its own ordinance. Though specific language has not yet been drafted, council members were generally supportive of the concept, which was brought forward by Steel Toe owner Jason Schoneman (see the attached PDF above for a letter from Steel Toe backing the plan).

"I think it's a great idea," councilwoman Anne Mavity said.

Council members did raise a few questions, however. Because the new ordinance wouldn't require food sales, councilwoman Sue Sanger said she would want the language to be clearly different from the city's standard on-sale liquor ordinance, which requires establishments sell at least as much food as liquor. Currently, is on probation for .

Similarly, Mavity asked whether there would be a way for the city to limit how many places get licensed as taprooms, as she wouldn't want to see an explosion of businesses selling liquor but no food.

City staff said the proposed ordinance could address both these issues.

Council will likely see a draft of the ordinance at a study session in the next four to six weeks. If members like what they see, it could come up for a formal vote by July.

Steel Toe owner Jason Schoneman said he likes the direction council is headed.

"I'm just encouraged by your discussion," he said after Monday's meeting.

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