Thursday, December 18, 2014

Research Q of the Week: Cocktail Room License Law, Distilled

Question: We have a microdistillery in the city that sells their product under a license granted by the state. Now they’re saying they want a license from the city to have a cocktail room? What is this?

Answer: It's good news for those who deserve the occasional adult beverage following a long day of synthesizing municipal law, that's what.

Specifically, this is a new license as of the last legislative session. While the state licenses microdistilleries to provide samples of distilled spirits manufactured onsite, cities may license a state-licensed microdistillery to operate a “cocktail room.” Think of a microbrewery's taproom, except with Manhattans and martinis instead of lagers and IPAs.

The cocktail room license authorizes the on-sale of distilled liquor produced by the distiller for imbibing at the distillery or at a place adjacent to a single distillery location owned by the distiller.
  • This license is only available to those distilleries licensed as "microdistilleries."
  • No distiller is allowed more than one cocktail room license.
  • No single business is allowed to hold both a cocktail room license and a taproom license.
  • No single location can hold both licenses even if the businesses are separate.
  • The cocktail room license may be issued by a city with or without a municipal liquor store.
Combine these rules into your city's licensing repertoire, shake, and serve up a boost to your city's craft spirits industry responsibly.

Written by Edward Cadman, special counsel with the League of Minnesota Cities. Ed can't figure out how to incorporate the phrase "hot toddy for your body" into this blog post. Probably for the best. Contact: or (651) 281-1229.

This blog post conveys general information. It’s not legal advice. Please check with your city attorney before acting on this information. 

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