It looks like a new unseen consequence of Minnesota’s government shutdown has appeared: many bars, restaurants and stores across the state are running out of alcohol.
In the days leading up to the shutdown, thousands of outlets scrambled to renew their state-issued liquor purchasing cards. Many of them did not make it.
Now, with no end in sight to the shutdown, they face a summer of fast-dwindling alcohol supplies and a bottom line that looks increasingly bleak.
“It’s going to cripple our industry,” said Frank Ball, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, which represents thousands of liquor retailers in the state.
The Ugly Mug, a popular bar near Target Field, doesn’t have enough beer to get through the baseball season.
There are still plenty of places in Minnesota to buy your booze, but it’s only a matter of time until their licenses need replacing and their stocks dwindle. There are efforts being made to find a solution in case the shutdown doesn’t end (read the article to learn about those) but it’s possible those won’t work. If this shutdown lasts for months, the number of establishments affected could rise from 300 to a thousand or even thousands as their licenses expire.
To all the people of Minnesota: I hope your goverment finds a solution. But, if it doesn’t, just hop on Interstate 94 and come west to North Dakota. We’ve got plenty of alcohol and we’re happy to share.
UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.: Anyone who enjoys Miller Lite, Coors or MGD in Minnesota had better stock up while they still can.
The AP reports that MillerCoors it has to pull its products from bars, restaurants and stores across Minnesota because the company’s permit couldn’t be renewed before the shutdown.
This means an entire company’s wares are to be removed from sale because of a failure of leadership in St. Paul and dozens of businesses will be affected. I wonder if MillerCoors is only the first company that will be affected. It may be a matter of time until products from InBev/Budweiser and other companies are cut off. There are also plenty of small breweries in Minnesota that may (let us hope not) have to shut down sales, close their doors and tell their employees to go home.
This is not the sort of thing you want happening during a fragile economy recovery.