Dear editor:

Environmentalists and small businesspeople don’t often find common ground, but the sale of growlers is the best example of a win-win solution I’ve heard in quite a while. Growlers are an alternative to wasteful one-use packaging, and their sales are a chance for small businesses to distinguish themselves in a competitive alcohol industry.

So why does Minnesota punish breweries like Two Harbors’ Castle Danger for finding an entrepreneurial and environmentally friendly niche?

Growlers are an elegant solution to the crisis levels of waste piling up in America’s landfills and natural habitats. The average Minnesotan consumes 28.4 gallons of beer annually (source: USA Today), and if that beer is packaged in 12-ounce cans or bottles, this consumption generates 307 bottles of beer per year per person that are either recycled using valuable energy, or thrown into landfills and ditches, never to biodegrade.

Meanwhile, buying a growler and bringing it back to a brewery to be refilled every few weeks wastes only a bit of soap and water.

Furthermore, growlers offer a chance for small breweries to create a unique product in a huge alcohol industry. Small businesses are given a chance to compete with the likes of Budweiser, Busch and Miller by offering something they can’t: a delicious and fresh craft beer. And buying from small businesses is also an investment in the local economy.

When you buy a growler from Castle Danger, you’re paying a neighbor, and that neighbor is more likely to spend their dollar in Two Harbors than a CEO of Busch or Budweiser.

Growlers benefit business and the environment. Why are we forcing Castle Danger and other small breweries to give up their inventive and sustainable niche to better compete with Big Alcohol? Caps on growler sales need to be much higher.

Call Sen. Karin Housley (651-296-4351) to voice your support for her proposition to double growler caps today. Better yet, abolish the sales cap altogether.