How to Make Change During COVID

One year later we still are a COVID limited business. Our Taproom is at 50% capacity. Our distribution of canned beers is strong but draft keg sales are still tiny as our partners in the hospitality industry remain shuttered or struggling at partial capacity. Without government aid from all levels, many of us would have disappeared and many have.

My ask is simple. I am asking that you take a few seconds to help thousands of Minnesota hospitality businesses including Utepils. All of the beer we create is either sold in our Taproom or it is transported out via our distribution partners to retail liquor stores, bars, restaurants, stadiums, and music venues. We need our entire hospitality ecosystem to survive and then to thrive!

Almost all of them are hurting or closed by the pandemic. During this session of the MN Legislature, a first ever coalition of craft beer, farm wineries, and craft distilleries banded together as the MN Craft Beverage Council. Combined with support from Hospitality MN and the Minnesota Independent Restaurants, a unified bill was created and introduced to the MN Legislature. It would allow these varied businesses more flexibility to support themselves by selling products versus depending upon more government aid for survival.

To help, click here to send a message to your legislators: https://www.votervoice.net/MNCraftBrew/Campaigns/79364/Respond
It includes simple things like letting the only six breweries in the USA that can’t sell growlers, to sell growlers.

It would let craft distilleries sell you a full-size bottle of their product. It would have MN tax law conform to Federal standards for our farm wineries.  And it let you buy a four pack of our beer at our Taproom instead of a glass growler if you wanted to.

These are not unusual changes, in fact, Minnesota’s laws are some of the most restrictive in the country. Occasional band-aids every once in a while, such as the change to allow Brewery Taprooms (the Surly bill) transformed Minnesota’s previously very limited brewing industry to one with nearly 200 breweries in small towns & big cities that employ thousands of our neighbors.

Learn more about what is in the bill here: https://mncraftbevcouncil.org/our-bill/

The bill has bi-partisan support. In fact it has the most support of any recent attempt to change the rules to help the hospitality industry. Yet, to get to first base, we need the bill heard in committee and for that we need a huge public outcry.

If you agree; PLEASE take 30 seconds and send your “cry” to your legislator right now. Yes, right now! You can reward yourself with a craft beer later. Click on the link below and do it right now. Under the rules, a single Legislator can stop a bill if they are the Chairperson of the committee by simply not allowing the bill to have a hearing. There is no debate. There is no vote. There is no consideration of the merits. Of course, there are other routes but they are immensely more difficult. Right now, we don’t need more “difficult”!  We need a fair hearing and a vote.

Click this link to send your cry out! https://www.votervoice.net/MNCraftBrew/Campaigns/79364/Respond

Be active on Social Media. Use the hashtag #DrinkLocalMN when you post and react by Liking and Sharing, Retweeting, etc when you see others use the tag. That action encourages other to take similiar action. Just like it’s more fun to drink with friends than alone.

If you don’t agree, we understand and appreciate your support via your purchase of our beer here and at your favorite store or place for a good beer.

In full disclosure, there are two more bills that we will request you also support when they come up:

1. Bring MN’s tax treatment of PPP loans in line with the Federal government. Taxing loans intended to save struggling businesses as income is short sighted.
2. A bill is in the works to compensate businesses that had to dump beer or other food products due to the government ordered COVID shutdowns. This applies to breweries like Utepils, distribution companies and retail establishments. It would also allow for re-imbursement for expenses to comply with COVID rules such as sanitizer, signage, etc.

As the days grow warmer and the sun shines longer, we can feel optimism that vaccines are bringing us back to a new happier new normal. Perhaps this is the new COVID era meaning of “Utepils”.

“The joy of having a beer with friends out in the sunshine after a long dark and scary pandemic.”

With your help, Utepils and many other hospitality employers and employees will be here to serve up that beer to you. Thank you again for the support you have shown with your email responses, friendly waves in the Taproom, and continued enjoyment of our beers in your own bubble or pod.

Normally I sign these with the names of everyone who works at Utepils. Due to the topic being a little political, I will keep it to my wife and I. Just know if this bill passes it will help everyone working here.

Thank you for your past support and we look forward to enjoying the new pandemic meaning of Utepils with you.


Dan & Deb Justesen

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