Church and liquor separation loosened in Minneapolis

Dina Elrashidy

Restrictions on alcohol sales near churches loosened  in a Minneapolis City Council vote on Friday according to the Star Tribune.

Two votes were cast that will allow restaurants serving alcohol and microbreweries selling growler jugs to open near places of worship.

Currently, restrictions prevent restaurants from serving alcohol near churches unless alcohol sales account for no more than 30 percent of sales and they don’t have a bar.

“It hasn’t limited the sale of alcohol,” Gary Schiff, the sponsor of the measure, said. “It’s just created a lot of vacant buildings under commercial corridors.”

The restaurant change was passed 12-1, and the microbrewery ordinance passed 11-2.

Council member Diane Hofstede was one of the two members to vote against the microbreweries ordinance.

“I don’t have any question about recognizing that we want to add new businesses into our city,” Hofstede said. “But I also support that we listen to both sides of the story and that they have an opportunity to express themselves.”

Schiff said that current laws are based on local history with prohibition.

“[Minnesota was] one of the earliest states to ban the sale of alcohol,” Schiff said. “And I think laws that make it difficult for adults to consume alcoholic beverages are just a holdover from those days.”