Liquor license at Merwin Liquors OK'd by Minneapolis council committee

After a long history of shootings and violence, and amid a potential change of ownership for the location, a Minneapolis City Council committee has approved the liquor license for Merwin Liquors in north Minneapolis.

At its Business, Housing and Zoning Committee hearing on Jan. 16, the committee voted to approve the liquor license of Merwin Liquors for TXT Wine and Spirits, sending it to the full council for ultimate approval.

Located at the intersection of West Broadway and Lyndale avenues, in 2022 the location saw a series of shootings that lead to city officials talking about proposals to either deny or transfer a liquor license for property owners.

Following the shootings, Merwin Liquors began a partnership with We Push for Peace – a community group that provides security and intervention services.

But in October 2023, Minneapolis residents raised concerns about the proposal to renew the liquor license at a community meeting. 

An adjacent church named Sanctuary wants to buy the property, but Merwin's current owners reportedly don't want to wait.

Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison said on Tuesday he had hoped things would work out for the church to purchase the property, but that talks between Merwin’s owner Stuart Tapper and Sanctuary had not materialized in recent months.

According to Sanctuary, purchase talks only fell apart because it needed until the end of February to make sure city funding would come through, and that the Tappers wanted a large amount of non-refundable earnest money to wait, which the church could not afford to do.

The Minneapolis City Council plans to take up this issue at its next meeting on Jan. 25.