A Beer-ocratic Nightmare Brewing for Wisconsin Craft Beverage Industry

Jul 11, 2017 by AFP

Trouble is brewing for Wisconsin’s craft beverage industry.

Special interests want to impose new regulations on Wisconsin’s craft breweries, wineries and distilleries and establish a new bureaucratic Office of Alcohol Beverage Enforcement, also known as the Liquor Tsar.

Thankfully, Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin is fighting back.

Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin State Director Eric Bott explains the dangers of the proposed regulatory body in his new op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Despite the [Wisconsin Craft Beverage Coalition’s] efforts, the Liquor Tsar proposal isn’t completely dead. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos refuses to rule out tucking it into the infamous 999 motion, a budget tool that allows lawmakers to anonymously introduce policy — you may remember it from last session when lawmakers used it in an attempt to weaken Wisconsin’s open records law.

Wisconsin’s byzantine system of regulating the production, distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages already causes tremendous trouble for our craft beverage producers. The state shouldn’t make things worse.

With this in mind, Americans for Prosperity sought to put the brakes on the Liquor Tsar proposal and asked the Legislature to grant craft beverage producers a seat at the table. We believe legislators should focus on modernizing the system to reflect changing business models and consumer tastes.

A good place to start would be passing a bill to extend the operating hours of wineries so they can be open until midnight, as opposed to the current 9 p.m. cutoff. This would allow more than 120 wineries in Wisconsin to host evening events such as weddings and better serve their customers, ultimately bringing more tourism revenue into the state.

A few modest, common sense reforms like this could make Wisconsin a craft beverage production and tourism powerhouse to rival any state in the nation.

Read the full op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel here.