BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Its members may be in the liquor business, but the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association might as well be a teetotaler when it comes to increased competition, says one player entering the Twin Cities market.
The powerful trade association and lobbying group representing big and small liquor license holders is trying to prevent Minnesota from becoming the 16th state with Total Wine & More superstores. The chain has 102 locations with 8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits and 2,500 beers on display in 25,000-square-foot stores, drawing customers from 10 to 15 miles away.
“This is the biggest hurdle we’ve had in all 15 states,” said Robert Trone, co-owner of Total Wine & More. “We’ve certainly come across groups before that tried to stop competition, but never as organized and fierce as this group. Their sole stated objective is to stop competition.”