Brewing and distilling

Brewing and distilling

Air emissions

Most producers will not need an air permit, but you should evaluate your facility to make sure. Fuel-burning equipment, grain handling and drying equipment, back-up generators, and the fermentation process itself can all contribute to the need for an air emissions permit. Contact us for free, confidential help. If your facility needs an air permit, you will likely qualify for the simplest and cheapest type: PDF icon Air Emission Registration Permits.

Air conditioning or refrigeration equipment

If you have air conditioning or refrigeration equipment that uses CFCs, HCFCs, or HFCs, the EPA requires that you use certified technicians who capture all refrigerants during repairs and follow EPA rules for maintenance and repair. There are additional steps to take if your equipment is large and leaky.

Hazardous waste

You need a hazardous waste license if your business produces any amount of hazardous waste. Facilities in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, or Washington County are licensed and inspected by their county. Facilities in greater Minnesota are licensed and inspected by the MPCA. If you produce only small amounts of hazardous waste, you probably qualify to bring the wastes to PDF icon Very small quantity generators collection programs (w-hw2-51). There are many common hazardous wastes. These include corrosive (acidic or caustic) cleaners that haven't been neutralized during use and parts washer solvent.


Annual hazardous waste training is required for large quantity generators (2,200+ pounds a month) and small quantity generators (220 to 2,200 pounds a month), and recommended for very small quantity generators (less than 220 pounds a month). Free training is available from the MPCA and some metro-area counties:


MPCA industrial stormwater permit or no exposure certification is required for facilities described by SIC codes 2082 (malt beverages), 2084 (wines and brandies), or 2085 (distilled and blended liquors), unless the majority of revenue comes from on-site sales in a restaurant, brewpub, or tap room. Don’t know your SIC code? Use OSHA’s SIC code search. Businesses that don't have materials or processes exposed to rain or snowmelt qualify for the no cost, low-requirement no-exposure certification.


Breweries, brewpubs, and distilleries in the Twin Cities metro area must have a microbrewery wastewater permit from Metropolitan Council Environmental Services. In greater Minnesota, check with your local wastewater treatment plant to find out what their discharge requirements are. Septic systems used for non-residential purposes often require a permit from the MPCA, your county, or EPA, depending on the daily flow design. A permit is required if you will discharge wastewater to surface water. 

Small amounts of fermentation wastewater and other residuals can be spread on farmland as a replacement for commercial fertilizers; larger amounts require a permit. Learn more: PDF icon 10-step guide to land applying small amounts of industrial by-product from food and beverage processes (wq-lndapp2-04)


If you have a restaurant, tap room, or tasting room, are located in the Twin Cities metro area, and contract for trash collection of four cubic yards or more per week you are required to recycle at least three materials.

Local regulation

Be sure to check with your county, city, and township to see if they have any additional requirements.

Beyond compliance

  • Reduce water use. Start with benchmarking. How many gallons of water are you using to make a gallon of product? For breweries producing less than 10,000 barrels annually, the average is around 8 gallons used per gallon produced. Minimizing water use can be especially important in rural locations, where small wastewater treatment plants may not be able to accommodate your wastewater volume.
  • Reduce energy use. ENERGY STAR® Guide for Breweries provides ideas for improving energy efficiency and expected payback periods.
  • Source used equipment when possible. Buy Minnesota-made when you need new. Most companies that manufacture food-grade or medical-grade tanks can fabricate tanks to your specs.

See the Beyond compliance page for more information on reducing waste and saving money in your business.