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Minnesota Beer Wholesalers Association, Minnesota Restaurant Association and Minnesota Retailers Association.

LIPP: Business

Minnesota Beer Wholesalers Association

It’s been a great year for the state’s beer industry, thanks in no small part to the Minnesota Beer Wholesalers Association. At the Capitol this session, the Minneapolis-based association won a major victory that will benefit larger breweries in Minnesota. Operations that produce fewer than 250,000 barrels per year will now receive a tax break on the first 25,000; previously, that production cap had stood at 100,000 per year. The association also succeeded in staving off a DFL-proposed tax hike on alcohol that the industry vociferously opposed.

The association started 60 years ago, and today gives voice to the 90 beer distributors operating in Minnesota. The organization lobbies on a variety of issues at the Capitol on behalf of distributors, while at the same time advocating for responsible beer consumption.

Minnesota Restaurant Association

With a proposed minimum wage hike on the table, the Minnesota Restaurant Association had a busy year at the Capitol. The restaurant industry believed the bills passed off the floor by the House and Senate to raise the minimum wage in Minnesota to $7.75 an hour and $9.50 an hour, respectively, by 2015 would severely damage local businesses, leading to layoffs and increased menu prices. The Restaurant Association responded by recruiting hundreds to lobby against the bill and educate legislators on its potential detrimental impact. With help from the Restaurant Association, the bills ultimately stalled in the Legislature.

Lobbying at a state and local government level is a key part of the Restaurant Association’s mission. The group, formed in the 1930s, today counts about 1,700 member locations, ranging from fast food to high-end dining establishments. In addition to its lobbying efforts, the group also educates the public about the industry and conducts classes on safe food handling.

Minnesota Retailers Association

At the Capitol this year, the Retailers Association championed the successful E-Fairness legislation. Also dubbed the “Amazon Tax,” the controversial bill will require items purchased online through national retailers with local affiliates to be taxed if sent to Minnesota. The law took effect July 1, and it will help even the playing field for local retailers competing with national companies. The MRA played integral roles on a number of other hot-button issues this year as well, lobbying against new taxes on clothing and retail services. Its lobbyists also fought against a proposed hike to the state’s minimum wage.

The Retailers Association has worked on behalf of Minnesota businesses, large and small, since 1952. The organization has more than 1,500 members, and lobbies on a wide variety of issues at the Capitol with the mission of preserving and enhancing the retail industry in Minnesota and promoting free market ideals.

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