Bill clears up licensing issues for state inns
ST. PAUL -- Lawmakers are being asked to let the state's bed and breakfasts continue doing what many already do - but now it would be legal. Bed and breakfast owners urged a Senate panel on Monday to change state law so they can serve wine to gue...
ST. PAUL -- Lawmakers are being asked to let the state's bed and breakfasts continue doing what many already do - but now it would be legal.
Bed and breakfast owners urged a Senate panel on Monday to change state law so they can serve wine to guests attending private events held at the inns.
Current law says municipalities can issue on-sale wine licenses to bed and breakfasts but only to serve registered guests.
Inns across Minnesota routinely use the wine license to serve both their overnight guests and others just there for events such as weddings and reunions. It's been standard practice for years, Mike Waulk said.
Waulk, host of the Moondance Inn in Red Wing, said recent legal interpretations brought the issue to light.
"It's strictly for our wedding and event business," Waulk told legislators.
Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, said there is no opposition to the bill.
A Senate subcommittee that handles liquor-related bills will consider including the wine provision in a larger package of legislation.
Current law is too restrictive, Murphy said.
"These folks can't let them have alcohol," he said.
The bill would allow inn keepers with commercial kitchens to seek on-sale wine licenses to serve both overnight guests and visitors.
Resorts, clubs, restaurants and hotels already have the option.
"It's vital to our future," said Gary McKenna of the Golden Lantern bed and breakfast in Red Wing.
Inns that could potentially be affected by the law are spread throughout the state, with more than 130 belonging to the Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Association.
Bed and breakfasts are assets in many communities, said Rep. Jerry Dempsey, who is sponsoring the bill in the House.
Dempsey, R-Red Wing, said guests attending a private event where food is served should be able to enjoy wine with their meal.
"That's a kind of lifestyle that I don't think causes problems," Dempsey said. "I think this would be just an enhancement."
The bill has not been heard in a House committee, but Dempsey said he is optimistic it will pass.