Government Shutdown Raises Horrible Spectre of a Boozeless Minnesota


Nice=drunk. Obviously.

One more reason to keep government out of the booze biz: If government shuts down, so do the taps. And with two of their own already "exchanging blasts" in the presidential primary, Minnesotans are going to need a drink or two to keep their famous nice going.

Via Wonkette, this terrifying tale of liquor shortages in a land of serious drinkers:

In the days leading up to the shutdown, thousands of [restaurants, bars, and liquor stores] scrambled to renew their state-issued liquor purchasing cards. Many of them did not make it.

Now, with no end in sight to the shutdown, they face a summer of fast-dwindling alcohol supplies and a bottom line that looks increasingly bleak.

"It's going to cripple our industry," said Frank Ball, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, which represents thousands of liquor retailers in the state.

The same horrible fate awaits cigarette sellers come Labor Day.

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  1. My relatives in NH should take note.

    Although I will say that for government stores, NH liquor stores have managed to avoid the “Soviet Russia” vibe that other state booze stores emit.

    1. They can always drive to Maine, Vermont, or Mass and have the drive be not unduly long to stock up, no matter where they live. Minnesota’s a little bigger than that.

      1. True, but almost all of MN’s population (Minn/St.Paul, Duluth) is on the border.

        And for those who live in Brainerd, that’s what you get for living in fucking Brainerd, MN.

        1. That’s “up Brainerd” if you don’t mind.

          1. It could be worse. It could be winter.

            1. It could be worse. It could be winter, in Michigan.

    2. First off, it’s only hard liquor. If NH has a state shutdown, we’re still left with beer and wine and liquor from local distilleries.

      Second…I’ve never heard of needing a “Liquor purchasing card”. This seems totally different from the concept of a liquor license.

    3. NH isn’t in much danger of a government shutdown. And they just might be smart enough not to shut down parts of government that actually generate revenue if they were.

      1. The NH GOP actually just finished restoring some fiscal sanity by taking huge bites out of just about everything. Unfortunately, they left a lot of the government in place, ready to bloat once revenues return.

        1. Yeah, I’ve been largely pleasantly surprised with how they have done.

    4. Government liquor stores? Huh?
      In louisiana we have never heard of such a thing. We do have drive-thru liquor/ daiquiri stores. To make it not an ‘open container’ they have to leave the paper on the top of the straw.

  2. Also, it’s pretty impressive that KMW wrote two stories in 7 minutes.

    1. She’s “mommy-blogging” now. Let’s hope that pool fence is secure.

      1. It’s July, she should be out blogging by the pool anyway.

  3. Thank god Wisconsin is only about 40 minutes away.

    1. Here’s another business the Indian tribes oughta be in.

      1. Nah they’d just drink the profits?

  4. So the government exists enough to cause the problem, but not enough to solve the problem.

    Brain asploded.

    1. Now, put the Central State in charge of everyone’s healthcare and imagine the wailing, gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over a possible government shutdown.

      It’s madness, but there’s a method to it.

    2. yes, they’ve been very clear that all laws will be enforced during the shutdown. People can’t go fishing if they didn’t get a fishing license before the shutdown.

      1. How can they enforce anything if they’re shut down?


          “Necessary Government ‘Services'” ALWAYS include the SWATzis, but never teh Social Suckurity Checks!

          Nice little dog you have there…be a shame if anything happened to it during the “shutdown”….

        2. They have a nice Federal Judge who says they can’t stop law enforcement. Sieg Heil.

    3. Yeah, I don’t get it. If the government is shutdown, who’s checking the licenses? Just go stock up the liquor! Duh!

      Unless the government really isn’t shutdown…

  5. “It’s going to cripple our industry,” said Frank Ball, executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, which represents thousands of liquor retailers in the state.

    Any one want to bet that Mr. Ball’s Association has supported the government’s efforts increase entry barriers to people who would compete with the businesses that Mr. Ball represents?

    I think this is a case of someone’s petard being hoisted.

    1. Yeah, cry me a fucking river, rent-seeking scum.

    2. Here’s one!…..s_fans.php

    3. so this is actually voters being hoisted on their own petard for not voting for legislators that will legalize liquor sales by grocery stores

      I can buy that.

      (good thing I stocked up)

  6. This is actually great news, fellow libertarians. The MN Liquor Retailers are the monopolists with the very successful lobby that prevents adults from buying liquor on Sundays, or letting grocery stores sell liquor — all in the name of the children, of course.
    Also, liquor stores that planned ahead (what those very nannies say to us about planning ahead to not run out of booze on Sunday) are okay, it’s procrastinators that are in trouble.
    Also, Miller-Coors did not renew their brand license, so their products are being pulled from the shelves even as we speak — which shows every dark cloud has its silver lining.
    Finally, a plug for an outstanding local product: You must try any of Surly’s outstanding craft beers.
    Oh, and beers doesn’t have a singular form in Minnie-sota talk, doncha know.

    1. It is quite beautiful to see them getting fucked by their own lobbying.

    2. no singular beer?…like, i only had one beers osscifer.

      1. Cop,

        I think our law enforcement community is on to us, I mean, like geez.

    3. God invented Surly beer.

      1. Surly’s not bad, but I’m more of a Schell and Summit guy myself. Summit has started to put out some quality special releases.

      2. Surly only looks out for one guy…Surly!

    4. I gotta say Surly Furious tastes like it sounds. and I love it.

  7. eBay.

  8. Also, note in the story that the Governor COULD use his power to let sales (and tax revenue) continue, but as a member of the DFL Nanny State, he’s … well, as Tom Lehrer once said, like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.

  9. Left to themselves, supply and demand will level things out. OMG, price gouging !!

    1. Also, black market. If you can’t legally obtain beer from a distributor due to expired purchasing licenses, perhaps another establishment would obtain stock for your at a “reasonable mark up”.

      1. I was thinking the same thing.

        Did they shutdown all the liquor inspectors?

        1. As I mentioned earlier, a federal (Stadt) Judge ruled that they could not close down law enforcement as:
          1. they are only following orders, since it is an essential service
          2. It’s really all just a ‘close down the Washington monument” type game.

  10. Suck it! I make my beer and wine.

  11. Good to see Wonkette on the Reason reading list.

    Its never too late to try to inculcate a sense of humor in the conservative posters here.

    1. If we want a good laugh, we just search for “shrike” in the comments.

  12. @check_minus: We’ve got a strong home brewing community here in the Twin Cities, all unaffected by the shut down. But don’t expect the Strib (official organ of the DFL) to have anything good to say.

  13. all the more reason to go to Wisconsin to buy New Glarus (sold only in state, by the brewery’s choice).

  14. From Today’s WSJ:

    No Beer Until You Eat Your Peas
    While President Obama is threatening to starve your grandmother to death, Gov. Mark Dayton is threatening Minnesotans’ adult beverages, the Associated Press reports from Minneapolis:

    Miller, Coors and other popular beers may disappear from Minnesota stores and bars within days because brewing giant MillerCoors lacks the proper licenses due to the state’s government shutdown.
    MillerCoors has 39 “brand label registrations” with the state that expired last month, and the employees who process renewals were laid off when state government shut down July 1 in a budget dispute, Doug Neville, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said Wednesday.
    State alcohol enforcement officials who remain on the job recently told officials with Chicago-based MillerCoors LLC that they need to come up with a plan soon for pulling their products he said.

    So they shut down the office that approves licenses but not the office that enforces licenses? Sounds like a good argument for just shutting down the entire government for good.…..TopOpinion

    They also shut down the department that sells fishing licenses but not the DNR workers who fine your ass and sieze your boat and motor if you fish with out a license.


    1. You idiot! The Teabaggers shut the MN govt down (except for essential ops).

      1. Yes, I do want fries with that.

        1. But you gotta remind him about the ketchup; he’s not real bright.

      2. Dayton and the DFL engineered the shutdown.

        The repub-majority legislature passed all the spending bills 6 weeks ahead of the deadline; they proposed that largest budget ever, but no tax increase. Dayton wanted to spend even more money and raise taxes (what fun is it buying your very own governorship if you can’t blow thru billions of taxpayer dollars?) Dayton never attempted to negotiate and waited until the deadline to veto the spending bills. The legislature is no longer in session and only Dayton can call a special session. He created the “crisis” and only he can end it.

        It’s a ploy to regain the legislature, which went Repub in both houses for the 1st time since the 70’s. Create a disaster then blame the opposition. The Strib is nothing but a DFL mouthpiece. The next biggest voice is Alliance for a Better Minnesota, which is the unions and the Dayton family trust fund.

        Apparently, California is their role model.

        1. “Apparently, California is their role model.”

          Will they take moonbeam? Please?

        2. Amazingly, most of the people I talk to are blaming this on Dayton. Despite the fact that the StarTribune continues to work their butts off as Dayton’s PR machine.

          Personally I think that the only reason that people are blaming Dayton is because he has to be the worst governor that we have ever had. If he hadn’t squirted out of a uber-rich mom, he’d have trouble holding a job pumping gas. For some reason he has decided to go full public and he looks like he is on some sort of bender.

      3. You are referring to the presenter of the tea bag?

        We can presume you enjoy receiving the tea bag?

    2. They also shut down the department that sells fishing licenses but not the DNR workers who fine your ass and sieze your boat and motor if you fish with out a license.

      I say wait ’em out. Eventually the enforcers either won’t get paid or will only get paid by becoming more corrupt.

      1. Besides, it’s only MillerCoors. Get back to me when actual beer is unavailable.

    3. Apparently MillerCoors renewed on time, but wrote a check for their license that was too LARGE and it got returned. They recut the correct check but it wasnt in time.

    4. They also shut down the department that sells fishing licenses but not the DNR workers who fine your ass and sieze your boat and motor if you fish with out a license.

      Fishing on public roads waterways is a privilege that the state can lawfully revoke at any time.

  15. Make. Your. Own. Damn. Beer.

    Problem solved.

    1. Dude! Got no time!

      Besides, comparative advantage

  16. See, in a sane world these shutdowns would prompt everyone to look at things and say “Wait, we need the government’s permission to do what now?”

    1. kind of what I was thinking. I mean, if the government is “shut down” who’s to say what you can and can’t sell? Particularly if you were selling it perfectly legally before?

      I’m curious as to what the repercussions would be if a store said “eff it, no government, I’m selling all the booze I want.”

      1. I don’t think they shut down the tasers or the dog killers.

        1. So just kill them. What are they going to do then, huh?

        2. Camera phone. Post on Youtube. Maybe, just maybe, it has some postive effect.

  17. Yesterday a pal of mine in the land of 10,000 lakes described the struggle for existence in post-shutdown Minnesota as, “Not the same as before ? better, because there’s no road construction.”

    If the cards are only for purchasing liquor and not for serving/selling on the premises, then bars, restaurants and liquor stores will adjust. Maybe they’ll pass the cost of shipping in form another state or Canada along to Gopher State dipsomaniacs. Maybe they’ll eat the cost themselves.

    Maybe they’ll get mad enough to buy some new legislators and get this odious card law repealed.

    In any event, if this is the kind of catastrophic catastrophe we keep hearing about from people who apparently weren’t born in 1995, I say bring on the federal shutdown.

    1. Yes, bring it–bring it!

      1. It hurts less when you just rip the band aid off.

        Please let Obama and Congress screw up this debt ceiling mess so we can have a Minnesota-style shut down. It’s the only way the country will ever take the entitlements disaster seriously.

    2. Maybe they’ll pass the cost of shipping in form another state or Canada along to Gopher State dipsomaniacs.

      No way. Odds of that being illegal are 99.99999%.

      How apt that this affects Coors. Smokey and the Bandit IV, baby!

      1. Definitely illegal. One of my favorite old time bars in downtown Minneapolis (The Court) was shut down years ago because they didn’t buy from an approved distributor.

        The owner of the Court and his distributor got in a urination match about something so the distributor wouldn’t sell to him. So he sent his bartenders down to the old Liquor Depot and they bought their hooch retail.

        Turns out that even though you can still turn a profit with retail booze, it is illegal. The liquor board shut them down.

        The new owner ripped out all the fixtures and <shudder> put in windows that allowed sunshine in.

    3. Exactly. I telecommute to a company based in Eden Prairie. None of them seems to have noticed the shutdown much.

    4. Some people will switch to other substances.

  18. “liquor stores that planned ahead (what those very nannies say to us about planning ahead to not run out of booze on Sunday) are okay, it’s procrastinators that are in trouble.”

    As Aesop might have put it:

    The foolish grasshopper spent all week working, figuring that he could buy the booze he needed when the weekend rolled around. The wise ant, on the other hand, spent the week stocking up on vodka and gin, packing it into several cases, and storing it in his cellar.

    By the weekend, the government shut down and the stores had run out of booze. The foolish grasshopper had waited too long, and he had to make do with Pepsi and milk. But the wise ant did not feel the booze shortage, because thanks to his foresight and planning, he was able to stay sauced and pickled the whole weekend. THE END.

    1. Reminds me I need to start stocking up on lightbulbs.

      1. Pssst, The Ant knows a guy if you need a hookup on that.

  19. Why don’t they just put enforcement of permitting on the embargoed services list with issuing of permitting? Too easy? The specter of unlicensed liquor stores is too horrible?

    1. Yeah, I’ve been wondering why the libertarian blogs I keep seeing this linked from haven’t been hitting this point more: that the Minnesota government partially shutting down is really only causing a problem because of the lack of services the remaining parts of government requires people to buy (licenses). This is government creating a need so it can fill it.

      It sounds from the comments here like this is completely deliberate on the government’s part, though: the shutdown is specifically designed to cause problems for people, as a political ploy. Ugh.

  20. I’m sure there aren’t any comments on Wonkette stupidly blaming this on libertarians… right?

    Limited government is a bitch without Marlboro’s and Hamms.

    1. Thank God. I would have been seriously distraught if nobody out there was attempting to make a non-ironic argument that this demonstrates how important the government is.

  21. Good thing I stocked up!

  22. What is the over/under on number of Minnesotans shot for illegally selling alcohol?

  23. I was forced to endure a layover in the Godawful shopping mall that is the MSP airport last week. The shutdown shutdown lottery sales. Only government deems a pure profit center “non-essential” business.

    1. I sympathize. I spent 13 hours there once.

      1. 13hours, wow. That shit must’ve weighed at least 16.5 Courics.

  24. I don’t get it. If gov’t shuts down, who’s to stop them from buying booze?

    1. Luckily they took measures to keep the booze police running along with the other completely necessary government services.

    2. Oh, the pigs always get their money. As “Caesar” [well, Rex Harrison in ‘Cleopatra’] said, [pigs armed with military style weapons] are what keeps my laws legal.

    3. Oh, the pigs always get their money. As “Caesar” [well, Rex Harrison in ‘Cleopatra’] said, [pigs armed with military style weapons] are what keeps my laws legal.

  25. If they take away the booze, how do we celebrate the shutdown?

  26. Fuck Minnesota. And California.

    1. We get no credit for Stone Brewing Co.?

    2. That hurts. I don’t care if you like us or not, but MN has always had a third (or nth), or new way. Sadly, it too often turns into the statist way, but we’re trying.

      BTW, it’s almost 9 here: of course I’m drunk. Jealous?

  27. Also, KMW, thanks for loosing another micro-mini-quantum-fractal-barley-legal beer-weenie barf-a-logue. Again.

    Always SO fascinating. Thanks again, Katherine.


    1. Automatic 100+ comment thread:

      Sarah Palin
      Michelle Bachmann
      Trains (only if TEH TROOF is posting)

      Did I miss any?

      1. Libertarianism critiques
        Ron Paul

      2. Circumcision. Foreskin is huge around here for some reason.

        Snowball fights as well.

        You can never tell.

        1. you can have my foreskin when you pry it from my cold, dead…

      3. Mosques? Weiner?

    2. I only drink beers that rhyme with “-ud”.

      1. Yeah, gotta love that Scud beer. How many gazillions of Zimbabwa dollars does a pint go for now days?

  28. Ohio has started to pull the liquor licenses of bars that owe fines for smoking bans.…

    1. Fucking anti-smokers. Most of ’em are Team Blue bootlickers.

  29. Pabst Blue Ribbion shouldn’t be effected, so I rekon all the “fixie” ridin hipster’s won’t be feelin the sting.

    Gawd I loath them.

  30. As long as Grain Belt is still available no one in MN should care.

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