Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Expansion for WI Brewpubs Legalized

Wisconsin’s legislature has finally agreed on a budget in what was an embarrassing and arduous session of negotiations. Wisconsin’s budget agreement is nearly four months past the deadline and the bickering in Madison has been rancorous and tiresome.

But enough politics, what does this have to do with beer? Well as part of the budget wrangling, rules on breweries were changed. Wisconsin had a law on the books dating back to the end of Prohibition that stated that any brewery making more than 4,000 barrels of beer per year cannot sell their own beer at more than two retail locations that they operate. For example the Great Dane Brewpub of Madison recently opened a third location on the city’s west side. Since it was the Dane’s third establishment that they owned, and they produce more then 4,000 barrels annually, they were prohibited from selling their own beer at the new location.

The law was intended to separate the channels of delivery to prevent a beer production/distribution/retail monopoly, but it unintentionally hindered small chains of brewpubs like the Great Dane and the Milwaukee Ale House.

Although the official details are not out yet, it’s being reported that the rules have changed to allow for the expansion of brewpubs like the Great Dane. No word yet on what the change is specifically, although it could be the “10,000 barrel, 6 location” compromise that was considered by the Senate Committee on Transportation, Tourism, and Insurance, which also apparently handles beer.

We’ll keep you in the loop as this story continues to brew.

Links of Interest:
AP Story
Great Dane
Milwaukee Ale House

Digg this

No comments: