Minn. Venues Run Dry

Venues, bars and restaurants in Minnesota could be in for a dry spell soon in light of the state’s government shutdown that some officials worry could severely affect liquor merchants.

The state issues liquor-purchasing permits to all establishments that sell alcohol. In the leadup to the July 1 shutdown, hundreds of businesses reportedly missed a deadline to renew their licenses. And if the government shutdown continues through the summer and beyond, many more permits could expire, meaning that when a club’s existing stock of alcohol is tapped out, that’s it.

“It’s going to cripple our industry,” the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association’s Frank Bell told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Erik Forsberg, who owns The Ugly Mug near Target Field, agreed, telling the Trib his bar didn’t have enough beer to last through baseball season.

“Our inventories are diminishing rapidly over the next month,” he said. “When [the Twins are] back on Thursday and people can’t get Budweiser … they’re just going to go somewhere else.”

Cigarette retailers will apparently be in the same bind should lawmakers’ budget impasse continue, the paper said. Also, the state stands to lose millions in tax revenues from alcohol and cigarette sales.