ST. PAUL — Convenience store and independent grocery store owners on Monday, March 2, came to the Capitol with a message: "We want beer."

365体育投注The group came to back a legislative proposal to stop Minnesota's last-in-the-nation law restricting the stores to selling beer with 3.2% alcohol by weight or less. That clocks out to 4% alcohol by volume, and with fewer breweries and distributors catering to that level, the business owners said they felt limited by the Prohibition-era rule.

Other states have made the push in recent years to strike similar laws, with Utah most recently removing its 3.2 law. And Minnesota retailers said they wanted to take the same approach.

365体育投注Since the state in 2017 opened alcohol sales on Sundays, convenience store owners said they've seen a hit to sales of their 3.2 beer offerings, and they asked that lawmakers take action.

"It's time, Minnesota, time to give us consumers and retailers a choice," Jeff Bagniewski, who runs Jeff's Little Stores in Rochester, said.

But leaders of Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association and Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association urged lawmakers to pump the breaks before eliminating the law.

Jennifer Schoenzeit, president of the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association and owner of Zipps Liquors in Minneapolis, said there's still a demand for the 3.2 beers and pointed to a variety of beers that fall under that category. And she said it was important to allow licensed facilities to sell the products with higher alcohol contents because having them on grocery or convenience store shelves could make them more accessible to minors.

"It's a regulated item and (it requires) safety and security to have in your store and availability to regulate it. And it's the way it is," Schoenzeit said.