Wisconsin beer distributors and other lobbying groups are seeking to change the state's distribution laws, including creating a new government office called the Office of Alcohol Beverages Enforcement. As Katelyn Ferral reports for The Capital Times, craft alcohol producers in the state are pushing back:
"The Wisconsin Tavern League, along with two other lobby groups want to narrow how the state regulates companies that manufacture, distribute and sell alcoholic beverages and create a new government office with broad discretion to regulate the industry.
The Wisconsin Tavern League, Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association and the Wisconsin Wine and Spirits Institute want to create an Office of Alcohol Beverages Enforcement to crack down on violations, according to a draft of the plan obtained by the Cap Times Thursday.
The proposal would narrow the state's three-tiered system — a series of laws that regulates how alcoholic beverages are manufactured, distributed and sold in the state — and create a fee structure for businesses that violate the system. Under the proposed structure, businesses could be fined up to $10,000 for some violations, including failing to buy beer from a wholesaler. The Office of Alcohol Beverage Enforcement could also issue civil penalties for those who do not comply with the law.
Craft beverage companies, including New Glarus Brewing Company which makes Spotted Cow beer, have come out against the plan.
'This is something we’ve seen floated around for a few years by liquor wholesalers,' said Deb Carey, founder and president of New Glarus. 'I do support the three-tiered system, however over the last 10 or 15 years it has become increasingly flawed and doesn't really protect the manufacturers, whether they're wineries or breweries and that’s disheartening.'
The plan is 'just bad business' and there is no need for it as the Department of Revenue already has a staff member regulating licenses, Carey said..."
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