Winona makes more opportunity for small breweries

Mayor says there's already a group interested in bringing microbrewery to city

A growing trend of microbreweries may now extend to Winona, where the city updated their city ordinances to reflect Minnesota’s alcohol laws allowing breweries to serve beer on their premises.

The amendment to city code passed the council this week, making it so brewers and microdistilleries can apply to sell their products on site, and small brewers can sell them both on and off premises

Winona Mayor Mark Peterson said the city is no stranger to making beer.

“We have a long history of brewing here in Winona,” he said. “We had three breweries before we became a city.”

Peterson said the changes will bring good things to the community.

“It really just falls in line with the other activities we see happening in Winona, and we think it’s a nice fit,” he said.

Small breweries have been established in La Crosse where customers can already purchase beer on-site, and the owner of Turtle Stack Brewery Brent Martinson said having a tasting room at his brewery is a great way to connect with his customers.

“It’s an opportunity for the brewers to actually interact with the community, interact with people who enjoy their beers,” he said. “It’s a fun place to hang out because you are basically sitting right in the brewery. It gives them a real appreciation and connection on a personal level with the people who are putting their hearts into these beers.”

Martinson said by being able to sell beer right at the brewery, it’s been easier to grow his 10-month old business.

“You can grow organically, you can spread by word of mouth and the margins in the tasting room are little bit better than distribution sales, so you actually have some capital to expand your outside distribution,” he said.

Peterson said Winona’s new laws open up doors for smaller start-ups and help get back to the area’s beer-making traditions.

“We can get back to our roots as you might say,” he said.

Peterson said there’s already a group interested in starting up a microbrewery in Winona.