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Letter: Why is Minnesota so behind when it comes to liquor laws?

Orton writes, "I believe it's time for our lawmakers to bring Minnesota's liquor laws up to speed by letting grocery and convenience stores offer full-strength beer and wine."

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In many ways, Minnesota is a leading state.

Minnesotans enjoy some of the best health care access in the country. We consistently have the highest voter turnout per capita in national elections. Several Fortune 500 companies call Minnesota their home.

So why is a leading state so far behind when it comes to its liquor laws?

Right now, Minnesota's grocery stores and convenience stores are limited to selling 3.2 beer. In fact, Minnesota is the only state with a 3.2 beer law.

With virtually no market for 3.2 products outside of Minnesota, many manufacturers have opted to stop production, limiting the choices Minnesotans have when they want to pick up a six-pack from the corner store.

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Most Americans benefit from the convenience of buying their favorite wine or beer while they shop for groceries. Not Minnesotans.

I believe it's time for our lawmakers to bring Minnesota's liquor laws up to speed by letting grocery and convenience stores offer full-strength beer and wine.

This would be a positive change for consumers, retailers, local brewers, wineries and even our lawmakers.

As I mentioned, when Minnesota became the only 3.2 state in 2019, major brewers like Pabst, Heineken and Mike's stopped making their 3.2 products.

This means consumer's beverage choices at grocery and convenience stores are even more limited than they were just a few years ago.

As a store owner, I want to provide as much choice as possible for my shoppers.

But with the 3.2 market dwindling, I can't offer the same variety of alcoholic beverages that my counterparts in Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas can.

It's time for Minnesota to leave our 3.2 law in the past and move ahead with full-strength beer and wine sales.

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It's an easy win for lawmakers in St. Paul that will bolster consumer's choices and open up opportunities for local businesses to sell their products in a new market.

Frank Orton represents Orton Oil.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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