As the Minnesota government shutdown drags on, residents may soon be without one of their favorite cold beverages: beer.
Minnesota state officials informed MillersCoors on Wednesday that the company must remove its 39 brands of beers from Minnesota shelves because it was unable to process the necessary licenses before the government shut down.
It must take its products out of liquor stores, restaurants, bars, and any other place that sells the alcoholic beverages.
The second biggest U.S. beer distributor claims it got all of the necessary paperwork in before the deadline, but yet the company still does not have the necessary licenses to sell in Minnesota.
When they resubmitted their application it wasn't received in time for us to process it before the government shutdown occurred, Doug Neville, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said.
In Minnesota, companies are expected to obtain licenses every three years for a price of $30 a brand. For MillersCoors the cost of registering would have been a paltry $1,170, but now the company stands to lose far more money if the situation cannot be resolved. Summer months typically tend to be very popular for beer sales and alcohol sales, which doesn't bode well for MillersCoors.
With 39 brands at stake in one of our largest markets in the country during the most important selling period of the year, we do not take our business of ensuring proper state licenses lightly, MillerCoors spokesman Julian Green told The Wall Street Journal. We are currently in discussions with the state to bring this issue to resolution.
As long as the shutdown continues there isn't much the company can do, though. Neville said that Minnesota has already informed MillersCoors on the removal process and that it expects products will begin to be pulled from shelves in the next day or two.
They're unable technically to either distribute or sell their product in the state, Neville said. There's no room within the statute for us to make any accommodation.
Not only will the company itself lose money over the administrative snafu, but restaurants and liquor stores that serve the products could take a financial hit. The head of the Minnesota Licensed Beverages Association was disgusted by the situation.
A large percentage of our beer consumed in Minnesota comes from MillerCoors, Frank Ball executive director of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, told Reuters. We think it is ludicrous to think they have to pull all of their product because an administrative clerk is off duty.
The Minnesota government shutdown began when officials were unable to come to a budget agreement before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1st. The shutdown has had far-reaching effects, forcing 22,000 employees on furlough and now the loss of a major beer brand's products.