Mark Dayton’s shutdown of Minnesota’s state government is now in its third week, and so far I’ve seen no sign of it. I mean that literally: if I hadn’t read about the shutdown in the newspapers, I would have no reason to be aware of it. Each day, the Minnesota Star Tribune runs an article on some group that ostensibly is being hurt by the shutdown. So far, the ones that have elicited the most sympathy are the people who had planned to camp out in the state’s parks, which are closed for the duration.
This morning, however, the Strib pulled out the heavy artillery with the revelation that bars across the state of Minnesota are beginning to lose their ability to sell beer, wine and liquor:
Hundreds of bars, restaurants and stores across Minnesota are running out of beer and alcohol and others may soon run out of cigarettes — a subtle and largely unforeseen consequence of a state government shutdown.
In the days leading up to the shutdown, thousands of outlets scrambled to renew their state-issued liquor purchasing cards. Many of them did not make it.
Now, with no end in sight to the shutdown, they face a summer of fast-dwindling alcohol supplies and a bottom line that looks increasingly bleak. …
The Ugly Mug, a popular bar near Target Field, doesn’t have enough beer to get through the baseball season.
What is odd about this is that any number of state agencies are continuing to operate, on the theory that they represent “core functions” of the state government. If renewing liquor licenses isn’t a core function of government, what is?
UPDATE: Governor Dayton ups the ante! Now, Miller and Coors say they will begin to pull some of their brands from bars and liquor store shelves because their brand licenses have expired. So far, though, Summit and Surly are still available, so serious beer drinkers can continue holding out. Is it going too far to suggest that anyone who drinks Miller Lite is probably a Democrat anyway?