Why do Wisconsin Republicans want to make life harder for small breweries?

Among the myriad of policy changes in the 2011-2013 biennial budget is a little-known provision that would make it more difficult to start a new beer brewing business in a state that has become famous not just for our big breweries (think Miller, Pabst, Schlitz, etc.) but for our smaller breweries like New Glarus, Sprecher, and Lakefront Brewery, just to name a few. The provision in question would revise “Chapter 125” to prevent Anheuser-Busch InBev from buying wholesale distributors in Wisconsin, with the side effect of affecting small breweries as well.

Here’s some video of John Nichols sharing his thoughts on the provision:

Here’s some specifics about the provision that would revise Chapter 125:

  • A new brewery or wholesaler would not be able to sell his/her beer unless 25 separate independent retail customers were secured – meaning – a small biz could not just add 1 by 1 and scale the operation up slowly.
  • Eliminates current Wholesale investment in privately held Wisconsin Breweries while allowing investment in out of state and foreign and publicly traded breweries.

H/T to blue cheddar.


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2 thoughts on “Why do Wisconsin Republicans want to make life harder for small breweries?

  1. Sorry, “Republican Hack Blogger” chiming in here. It’s not a formal position of the party to support this measure and many in the state party’s leadership have chimed in against it on Facebook and on Madison talk radio as well. (Of course, Nichols no doubt knows this, but since when did the facts get in the way of a good liberal rant for him?)

    It’s my understanding this is being pushed by the wholesalers and other beer distributors; which means their lobbyists are likely hitting both sides just as hard.

    Also, it passed Joint Finance on a 14-2 vote on Tuesday, which means you had Democratic votes as well. When’s the pillory for them to be built?

    Those votes were from Shilling, Grigsby, and “the Sainted” Lena Taylor. Nos were “the Evil” Glenn Grothmann and Bob Jauch (http://budget.wispolitics.com/2011/05/changes-to-beer-wholesale-requirements.html)

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