MN gov. shutdown causes increase in WI beer, lottery sales

By: Martha Boehm Email
By: Martha Boehm Email

WINONA, MN (WEAU)--With only nine barrels and 40 cases of beer left, the Winona American Legion may run out this weekend, which is a big concern for Post Commander Sam Sasser.

"We still have our bills to pay," Sasser said. "We have our mortgage. We have our staff that we have to pay. We still have costs and we depend on the sales. We depend on the beer and liquor sales to keep this business going.”

Sasser says the legion sent in the paperwork and $20 to renew its buyer’s card early, but when the government sent it back, it gave them a new card, but a wrong printed date. Soon after they sent that back, the government shut down, leaving the post without a license to buy more beer.

“We hope that they’ll come in and support us by buying pop and mixed drinks," Sasser said. "We have enough liquor to hold us for quite a while, but it’s the beer that’s going to be the issue.”

Across the Mississippi River, The Wine House manager Paul Gardner says sales have increased from customers in Minnesota since the shutdown, especially in lottery sales.

"On an average day, we used to see anywhere from 20-40 tickets," Gardner said. "And now we’re selling between 200-300 a day. So that’s quite an increase.”

Although business managers like Sasser say they’re frustrated with the government shutdown, they’re hopeful that business will be back to normal soon.

“It’s going to be very difficult for businesses across the state if this doesn’t get rectified quickly," Sasser said.

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