Stateways March April 2018

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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StateWays | | March/April 2018 9 after the repeal of the Volstead Act, municipalities throughout the state of Minnesota were searching for the next step that fi t for their communities. "Some saw privatization as the answer, some decided to re- tain the boycott of beverage alcohol in their communities and others saw government intervention as the best solution for the problem," Buysee says. "Municipal liquor was formed as a con- trol mechanism initially and didn't evolve into a revenue gener- ator until much later." Municipal liquor operations can advertise, promote and price products like independently owned opera- tors, but because of the control element, municipal stores may choose not to engage in certain, otherwise legal, activities. "We still do the best we can to control the sale of liquor in our communities, but the closure of some of our stores in sur- rounding communities due to privatization reduced our control," Buysse says. "MMBA was formed to be the legislative, marketing and promotional arm of our Minnesota liquor stores." In Minnesota, there are 210 cities with off-sale or on-sale/ off-sale combination municipal liquor operations, operating 242 facilities. Sales range from approximately $120,000 to over $14 million per year. Total annual sales are approximately $300 mil- lion, with total annual profi ts of approximately $20 million. And profi ts are used by cities for general fund activities or special projects including recreation programs, elderly transportation and public safety equipment. "Our role varies in the communities we serve," Buysee says. "Some of our on-sales serve as the only community meeting point, while other cities have multiple big box locations." MMBA is the preeminent marketing, promotional and leg- islative resource for its member locations. The association also serves as intermediary between its retail locations and suppliers. "We routinely advise our members on best practices and our members interact with each other to discuss ways to im- prove their individual stores and the organization as a whole," Buysse says. "We routinely communicate with Minnesota Alcohol, Gaming Enforcement (A.G.E.) and have had them speak at our regional meetings. Our mission is to provide our members with the tools to survive and fl ourish in an ev- er-changing retail marketplace." LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY The MMBA and its constituents pay close attention to the legislative activities within the state of Minnesota that could impact the municipal liquor operations. In fact, one of the as- sociation's core missions is, as an individual organization, to promote and introduce legislation, which is specifi cally benefi - cial to municipal liquor operations. In addition, the association works to oppose or potentially change legislation that may not be in the best interests of municipal liquor operations (and the overall retail liquor industry). "Legislators need to be educated about our industry - about how we sell a controlled substance, not a commodity similar to laundry detergent," Buysse says. "Many of our industry partners at a national level have seemingly confl icting agendas and we must advise our members of potential changes being legislated in other markets that may eventually effect us. NABCA is the business model that most closely models our municipal liquor association." COMMUNICATION IS KEY The MMBA offers a wealth of programs, consultation services The directors of the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association, during a recent board meeting in Roseville, Minnesota. MMBA WAS FORMED TO BE THE LEGISLATIVE, MARKETING AND PROMOTIONAL ARM OF OUR MINNESOTA LIQUOR STORES. — Gary Buysee, Operations Manager at Rogers Wine and Spirits " "

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