Town Talk: Liquor licenses

The State of Minnesota has many regulations for the sale of alcohol. One of the many duties of the City Finance Office is to process liquor license applications in accordance with State statute and local ordinance. Minnesota Statutes chapter 340A has set guide lines for alcohol sales but allows cities to be more restrictive if the Council deems necessary. Chapter 5 of the New Ulm City Code lays out our local rules for this issue.

There are several types of licenses available in New Ulm. These include annual licenses for intoxicating liquor on-sale and off-sale, club on-sale, Sunday liquor, strong beer, wine, and brewer’s tap room. There are also licenses for on-sale and off-sale 3.2% malt liquor. Temporary licenses are also available for both intoxicating liquor and 3.2% malt liquor sales.

Annual liquor licenses run from July 1 – June 30 each year. The initial license application for an annual license includes a background and financial investigation for the applicant(s). A background investigation is not required for renewals unless the council decides one is needed. All applicants must supply proof on insurance as required by MN State Statute and no licenses will be granted to an applicant with any delinquent taxes. Applications for licenses should be submitted 60 days prior to the requested effective date along with payment of all required license and investigation fees. After an application is submitted it is put before the City council for approval and then sent to the State for certification and the final approval of a wine or off-sale intoxicating liquor license.

The City has a Best Practices Program that applicants can opt to participate in. Participation in the program comes with a 15-25% reduction in license fees. The program involves compliance training with the New Ulm Police Department for employees, an annual review of records of operation, implementation of a compliance training program, and annual certification of compliance with the program.

Temporary liquor licenses can be issued to a club or charitable, religious, or non-profit organization. The different types of temporary licenses will dictate the possible number of days the license can be for as well as the number of licenses that can be obtained in a 12-month period. Each type may also have a different set of requirements and restrictions.

To serve alcohol on City-owned property there may or may not be a required permit depending on whether the event is private or public. The size of the event will also dictate if and how much security is required and what level and type of insurance is needed.

Penalties for any violations range from $250-$1,000 and may include revocation of the liquor license. The severity of the violation as well as the number of subsequent violations are considered for penalties. A violation may also result in removal from the Best Practices Program. Violations and penalties are defined in Chapter 5 of the City Code.

Any questions regarding license or permit process and requirements can be directed to the Finance Office at (507)359-8259.

Editor’s Note: The City of New Ulm presents a weekly column highlighting activities in different departments in the city government. Once a month the city will answer questions from readers. Questions on New Ulm city issues can be sent to