When It Comes to Beer, Minnesota Is One of Only 2 States To Do This
Forty-eight other states don't, but when it comes to beer in Minnesota, we're one of only five remaining states that still do this. But the bigger question is, why?
I'm talking about selling 3.2 beer-- beer that has an alcohol-by-volume percentage of only 3.2-- well below the alcohol content contained in most beers have these days. "3/2 Beer" or "Near Beer," as it's jokingly been referred to over the years, is the only beer that's still legal for grocery stores to sell here in Minnesota. And, Minnesota is one of only two states that still sell 3.2 beer-- the only other state to join us are the folks out in Utah.
According to this TwinCities.com story, the reason for 3.2 beer dates back to Prohibition-- when selling and possessing any alcohol was illegal in the U.S. Minnesota's legislature back then tried to get around the law by passing its own state law that said any beverage with an alcohol percentage 3.2 or lower wasn't really an alcoholic beverage-- and could still be legally sold.
Which is why you can still see 3.2 beer for sale in grocery stores in Minnesota. And, when buying 'high octane' beer was illegal on Sundays here, I can see why 3.2 beer continued to occupy shelf space at stores across the state-- it was the only beer you could buy, even if it was weaker than your usual brew.
But, the story says sales of 3.2 beer today are flatter than a day-old can of Schiltz. And, since Sunday alcohol sales were legalized last year, I'm wondering why the big breweries still even MAKE 3.2 beer at all anymore.
By contrast, most beers today have alcohol percentages waaaay higher than 3.2 percent. Heck, even a regular light beer, like Coors Light or Miller Lite, comes in at around 4.2 percent, and for some craft beers (especially some IPA's), it's nearly twice that amount or higher.
So will 3.2 beer finally go the by the wayside here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes? Only time will tell, I guess. But here's to you, Minnesota, for holding onto it for a long as we can!