No MillerCoors Beer In Minnesota

The First Essential Scary Truth

The state of Minnesota, like the rest of the country, is in a financial crisis.  To help balance the books, the Democratic governor presented a budget filled with tax increases.  The Republican controlled State Legislature demurred and refused to pass the budget.  The state government of Minnesota was forced to shut down.

Fear not fair Minnesotans.  If what I read in today’s New York Daily News is correct, your national nightmare will soon be over.

The Minnesota government shutdown has an unlikely casualty: beer.

The state has demanded that MillerCoors pull several of its beers from stores, bars and restaurants this week as the government is not open to process renewals for 39 of the brewer’s expired “brand label registrations.”

The employees who normally process the registration renewals were laid off July 1, when the government shut down due to budget disputes, according to Doug Neville, a spokesman for Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety.

MillerCoors spokesman Julian Green said the company is negotiating with state alcohol regulators, but added that the situation may have to play out in court.

“With 39 brands at stake in one of our largest markets in the country, during one of the highest selling periods in the summer, we don’t take our business of ensuring proper state licenses lightly,” Green said.

Minnesota law requires that alcohol distributors complete brand label registrations for all products sold in the state.

MillerCoors submitted its paperwork for the registrations on time on June 13.

The brewer, however, initially overpaid the registration fees and the state did not receive a check for the correct amount until June 27 — delaying the renewal until it was too late.

MillerCoors will be forced to pull its Miller and Coors lines, along with several of its other regional and craft beers, like Blue Moon and Pilsner Urquel.

Neville said that the brewer’s negotiations with the state’s alcohol regulators may not solve the problem.

“Our enforcement agents looked carefully at the statute and there nothing in there that lets us make any special arrangements with anybody,” Neville said.

Frank Ball, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, said the loss of MillerCoors beers could be very damaging to restaurant and bar owners.

“It could be 102 degrees this weekend,” Ball said. “We need cold beer.”

Could another Midwestern crime wave like that of the early 1930’s becoming to Minnesota simply because a few schnooks couldn’t get their beer made by a man named Adolf?  Stay tuned.


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