Sunday beer growler sales pushed once again at Capitol

Sunday sales may or may not be in the offing this year, but some lawmakers are thirsty to at least allow craft brewers to sell beer growlers on Sundays.

During testimony today at the Capitol, Lift Bridge Brewing's Dan Schwarz said, "This would certainly help with tourism since the brewery is already open, we'd be able to make use of our time a little bit better and sell the same products that we sell during the rest of the week."

The proposal is simple. It allows off-sale purchases of 64-ounce growlers of beer on Sundays, subject to the approval of local jurisdictions which also get to approve the hours of sale.

But the bill is far from filling everyone's glass.

For example, Rep. Mike Sundin (D-Esko) said the measure "is inconsistent with the rest of Sunday liquor sales and I simply can't support any of this."

Opposition from the Teamsters union killed a Sunday growler sales proposal last session, and union officials say they haven't changed their mind.

A statement from Teamsters political director Ed Reynoso says, "We have a number of concerns regarding the legal and industry-wide ramifications of the proposal."

The union insists Sunday growlers sales would force them to reopen labor contracts with distributors.

But supporters believe the current law is hurting businesses.

"The craft brewing industry is booming and we happen to be a magnet right now because we're the fresh ones in the market," said Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth). "And we are missing out on an opportunity to give these businesses the leg up, the support that they need to be successful and thrive here for a very long time."

The Sunday growler proposal is now laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus liquor at the end of the session.

Meanwhile, bills that would outright legalize Sunday liquor sales are slated to come up during future hearings yet this session.

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