For some people, as 8pm rolls around, the night has just begun. Not so for St. Paul liquor stores and taprooms.
According to a report by MPR, St. Paul requires off-sale liquor purchases to end at 8pm Monday through Thursday, and 10pm on Friday and Saturday, while neighboring Minneapolis and most surrounding suburbs have a closing time of 10pm Monday through Saturday.
However, the times may be changing. The ordinance, one of the last traces of post-Prohibition liquor limitations, is going to be under review today. The St. Paul City Council will discuss the extension of off-sale hours to 10pm Monday through Saturday. A public hearing is set for today, Wednesday, October 5.
Of course, there will be fans and critics. “It’s really confusing to our guests that come in and they can’t get a growler after 8 pm, and it really causes a lot of frustration with them because they expect to be able to,” Jeff Moriarty, a founder of St. Paul’s Tin Whiskers Brewing, said in the MPR story. “We’re open. And two Minneapolis breweries are able to do that and a lot of other metro area breweries are, so we’re kind of the exception the rule.” On the flip side, smaller, family-owned liquor stores throughout St. Paul argue that extending the hours of operation only increases the costs for the business. Nick Nadeau of 1st Grand Avenue Liquors noted in the article that “it’ll be hard to keep up, even if shop owners want to.”
St. Paulites are showing some initial attention to the ordinance, as it would mean they wouldn’t have to head out of town to buy beer and liquor past 8pm on weekdays. According to the report, dozens of residents have already contacted the council to express their support of the change.
“I know that the growlers [brewers] feel that they’re losing quite a bit of business,” said St. Paul City Council Member Chris Tolbert. “This just seems to be a reasonable change to equalize all the cities.”