A Guide to New Liquor License Laws in Mankato

Liquor laws in Mankato have recently had a meaningful overhaul. After two years of debate, the city council was successful in passing an ordinance that now applies more stringent rules for those who serve and sell alcohol. The ordinance was passed unanimously, and even bar owners greeted it with no resistance. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are the New Liquor Laws in Mankato?

The new liquor ordinance requires bars and other establishments that serve or sell alcohol to follow what are known as “Gold Star” standards, which were previously voluntary. These standards give discounts on liquor licenses to those who adhere to certain requirements, like attending meetings with police, participating in educational activities for servers, and avoiding strikes against them with a security plan. Beginning in January, those establishments who follow the regulations will get a 20 percent discount on their liquor license, while those who repeatedly fail to follow the rules will have their licenses suspended or revoked.

Why the Change?

The newly passed ordinance is just the latest step in an effort that spans over a decade, aiming to better regulate the consumption and sale of liquor in college towns. Mankato has long struggled with the ill effects of underage drinking and excessive consumption. These new incentives and penalties are designed to build responsibility and improve safety protocols within businesses.

In response to a rash of alcohol-related deaths and injuries, Mankato City Council passed the original Gold Standards in 2008. In recent years, they’ve also cracked down on unlawful alcohol consumption by increasing their police presence downtown, adding more security cameras, and creating a special bussing system that transports students back to campus after bar-closing time.

Part of the new ordinance is an updated “strike” system, which can cause businesses to lose their license discount – or, in a worst-case scenario, the license itself. Violations can be non-alcohol related, such as failing to clean up trash, but these won’t immediately cause a strike. For example, a non-alcohol related violation will result in a warning for the first offense, a half-strike for the second, and a full strike for the third. Alcohol-related violations will result in an immediate strike and will include things like serving alcohol to a patron who is already obviously intoxicated.

What Does This Mean for Residents?

Residents who comply with local laws shouldn’t expect much from the change in ordinances. It may affect town life in a few ways:

  • It will be harder for minors to get alcohol. Ideally, these new ordinances will make shop and bar owners more diligent about checking IDs and selling to people who are underage or more intoxicated. Failing to comply with these rules could result in higher fees for liquor licenses or lost business when a license is suspended or revoked.
  • Less public intoxication and alcohol-related disturbances. An increased police presence and incentives for refusing to serve already intoxicated patrons will hopefully lead to a decrease in disturbances around town.
  • Safer streets for Mankato citizens. These new regulations, in tandem with the existing bussing system, will discourage drunk driving and will hold establishments more accountable for the actions of their patrons. For example, allowing alcohol to leave the premises of an establishment will result in a full strike.

The new liquor ordinance will result in a safer environment for Mankato residents. Bar owners who comply with the law will enjoy discounts on their liquor licenses, while those with repeated violations face suspension or loss or privileges. Students may face stricter regulations, both by drinking establishments and the police force. Bar owners who follow the rules shouldn’t expect disruptions to business.

Although many Mankato residents will find this a welcome change in their community, it can spell legal trouble for those who are unfamiliar with the law. Contact our DWI attorneys in Mankato today if you or a loved one has been accused of DWI and see what we can do to help you explore your options.