Minnesota and Beer: Past, Present and Future

Minnesota is on the eve of the first committee hearing on the proposed brewery pint law (which will take place on April 5 in the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee).  In my opinion, passage of the law will open up a new frontier of beer brewing in Minnesota and with that frontier will come jobs.  For more info on the pint law, check out mnpintlaw.com.

Coincidentally, the Minnesota House of Representatives published some interesting statistics about Minnesota breweries in its most recent Session Weekly publication.  Here they are:

Number of breweries in Minnesota in 2010: 24
Number of breweries in Minnesota in 2000: 27
Number of breweries in Minnesota in 1990: 8
Number of breweries in Minnesota in 1980: 4
Number of breweries in Minnesota in 1875: 123 (this was the peak)
Number of breweries currently in the planning stage: 20
Total number of breweries that have existed in the state’s history, as approximate: 290
Number of those founded before Prohibition, as approximate: 250
Year the Volstead Act, named after Minnesota Congressman Andrew Volstead, was enacted to enforce Prohibition: 1919
Year that Prohibition was repealed by Congress: 1933
Number of breweries that opened or re-opened following repeal: 24
State rank in number of breweries per capita in 2008: 29
In gallons, per capita beer consumption by Minnesotans age 21 or older in 2009: 29
National rank in per capita  beer consumption: 32
Year Bavarian native Anthony Yoerg established the state’s first brewery in St. Paul: 1849
Year August Schell Brewing Co. was founded in New Ulm:  1860
Schell’s current rank among oldest family-owned breweries in the United States: 2
Year St. Paul’s Summit Brewing Company opened the state’s first new brewery since World War II: 1986
Year the state’s number of brewing operations surpassed the level last reached during the Great Depression: 1997
Year the state’s first brewpub, Taps Waterfront Brewery, opened in Minneapolis: 1989
Year Taps closed: 1991
Between 2005 and 2010, money spent on lobbying by the Minnesota Beer Wholesalers Association: $502,500
Between 2005 and 2010, money spent on lobbying by the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association (i.e., liquor stores, bars and restaurants): $397,500
Between 2005 and 2010, money spent on lobbying by the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association (i.e., city-owned liquor stores): $360,000
In the Capitol’s Rathskellar café, number of German sayings painted on the walls related to beer or drinking: 11

(Sources:  Doug Hoverson, “Land of Amber Waters:  the History of Brewing in Minnesota”; Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild; Beer Institute; Brewers Association; Minnesota Historical Society; Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board).