Amazing rabbit-powered beer-delivery machine

March 5, 2011


Today I set my English-major brain to work on a mechanical problem—designing a complicated machine to do a simple task. Are you surprised that it involves beer and a rabbit?

Now that I think about it, I suppose my brain was trying to go in a Wallace & Gromit direction. I imagined all sorts of cogs, pulleys, and ropes, powered by my rabbit Robbin, to get another beer from the refrigerator across the twenty-foot span to me lounging in my comfy desk chair because I just couldn’t be bothered to get up. I have, after all, previously established that I am, at the heart of things, lazy.

The trouble with my rabbit-powered beer delivery system—and really, it’s a system more than an actual machine—is that poor Robbin ends up as forced labor, with which I definitely disagree.


So then I started thinking more abstractly about the beer delivery system that’s in place in the state of Minnesota and made a feeble flow chart. It’s particularly relevant because at this very moment, Surly Brewing is in the midst of a campaign to rewrite Minnesota’s archaic alcohol laws. The one that impacts me personally is the one that prevents liquor stores from being open on Sundays. How backward is that?

The one that impacts Surly, which I have indicated in my flowchart, is that they must utilize a third-party distributor to peddle their wares. When I went on the brewery tour a few weeks ago, the beer that I partook of on the brewery premises was technically not a “serving,” it was a “sample,” because in Minnesota, breweries (except for the smallest “brewpubs”) are not allowed to “serve” on-site. Surly is seeking to change the law so that they can build a new, bigger, better brewery facility that includes a restaurant and beer garden in which they’d be able to—*gasp°—sell and serve glasses of—*gasp*—their own beer.

The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA, the state distributor) seems to think this would be a problem. Perhaps it’s because, if Surly expanded their capacity, they’d have to (once again, by Minnesota law) start using the MLBA to distribute their beer, which they currently don’t have to because they’re too small. How is one new restaurant on the brewery site any more impactful to the MLBA’s profits than a new restaurant or bar at, say, Lake Street and Lyndale Avenue? Doesn’t make sense. The MLBA does not lose in the Surly brewery expansion.


Anyway, then I tried to use pictograms to illustrate the Minnesota beer delivery machine. I thought it would be more interesting, but I don’t think it really is, other than the part where my rabbit and two cats silently judge my beer habit.

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