Council votes to extend off-sale liquor hours to 10 p.m. citywide
The Rochester City Council on Monday voted to erase a decades-old ordinance requiring liquor stores to close down earlier than state law mandates.
The rule change, which could go into effect by the beginning of next month, means liquor stores and breweries will be able (not required) to sell packaged alcohol until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The current ordinance limits off-sale liquor purchases to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 p.m. on Friday.
In a 6-1 decision, the council ordered the city attorney to draft a resolution that matches Rochester's hours with the rest of the state. City Council President Randy Staver was the lone dissenting vote.
Earlier in the month, the council approved an ordinance that allowed microbreweries and brewpubs to sell packaged beer until 10 p.m. seven days a week. The unanimous vote was a compromise between brewery owners, who spoke up for extending hours, and liquor store owners, who opposed any change to the current ordinance.
But just days after the ordinance passed, the city clerk issued a memo saying the vote was invalid because Minnesota law requires growler sale hours to "match the off-sale hours of regular liquor stores."
That forced the council to rescind the vote at Monday's meeting and, instead, pass a uniform ordinance for both types of businesses.
The council will formally vote on the new ordinance at its next meeting on Sept. 28. If the council gives a second reading at the meeting, the 10 p.m. change could go into effect as early as Oct. 1.
It's worth noting that prior to Monday's meeting, a petition sponsored by the Med City Beat in favor of extended off-sale liquor hours received 600 signatures.
About Sean Baker: Sean is the founder and editor of the Med City Beat. Under his direction, the site has transitioned from a small news blog to one of the most widely-read publications in the city. Prior to launching the site in 2014, Sean spent about two years producing television news in Green Bay and Rochester. His office is above a brewery, so please excuse any typos. Twitter.
(Cover photo: File / CC)