Fearful Symmetries

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10 July, 2007

Sand Creek Brewing Comes Out Against BTDA

The folks at Sand Creek Brewing Company up in Black River Falls have come down against the Brewpub Tourism Development Act. To wit:

We need your help to stop state legislation that will hurt brewers! Please contact your state senator and assembly person about this THIS WEEK before it's too late!

Here is the latest update on what is being called the “Brewpub Tourism Development Act”. Its official name is Senate Bill 224.

The bill will outlaw a brewer from having both a restaurant and brewer’s license from the State. All current restaurants that are in brewery grounds will be grandfathered in. This is a new addition to the bill, and it reads as follows:

“Current law prohibits a person from operating a restaurant unless the person has been issued a restaurant permit. This bill prohibits a person issued a brewer’s permit after the bill’s effective date from holding a restaurant permit, thereby requiring a person who intends to begin manufacturing beer and operating a restaurant after this date to obtain a brewpub permit if the person is otherwise eligible for a brewpub permit.”

This means that any brewery that is currently over 10,000 bbls and doesn’t have a restaurant permit will never be able to get one if the bill is passed. If the brewery is under 10,000 bbls, the brewery will be able to get a restaurant permit but will never be able to grow above 10,000 bbls unless they give up the restaurant. Since a lot of brewery business models in the state have been built on having a restaurant in their facility, this is a very damaging addition to the bill.

PLEASE:

Call your state senator and representative and explain how this bill will hurt craft beer in Wisconsin. You can find your legislators numbers at http://www.wi.gov . Talking points are listed below.

Talking Points Against The bill

* The bill will hurt the growth of current small breweries. Any startup packaging brewery will not have the aid of a restaurant to assist in growth of their brewery.

* There are currently breweries/brewpubs that are under construction that will not be grandfathered in to the current bill. These breweries/brewpubs will have to either close their places under construction or drastically alter their business plans under great loss of money (example - Milwaukee Ale House).

* Current small brewpubs cannot use their knowledge of brewing and start a packaging operation, or small packaging breweries cannot add a restaurant to their location. Examples of small packaging breweries that have added restaurants are Lakefront, Gray's, and Green Bay. City Brewery, Sprecher, and Capital all have banquet facilities on brewery grounds (I don’t know if they have a restaurant license). Examples of brewpubs that have or are adding packaging facilities are Milwaukee Ale House, South Shore, and Stone Cellar. All of these examples show companies that have added employment and taxes to the State of Wisconsin that wouldn’t of happened if the law was in place 20 years ago.

* Breweries such as Tyranena, Rowland’s, and Hop Haven Brewhaus that currently have a packaging brewery and a bar will not be able to add another location that has a restaurant since the sales of food in their first location is not 40% of their sales.

* Brewpubs such as Stonefly, and probably many more in the state, which don’t have more than 40% food sales will not be able to expand with another restaurant.

* The bill states “The applicant does not hold or have an interest in a Class “A” license, a beer wholesaler’s license, a brewer’s permit, or an alcohol beverage, warehouse permit, and does not hold or have an interest in a Class “B,” “Class B,” or “Class C” license other than one for brewpub premises.” I could be wrong about this, but the way I’m reading it if you own a brewpub you can not have a license in anything but a brewpub and you will only be able to have six of them. This could effect operations like Fox River, Stonefly, Water Street, and Green Bay.


For more information (so you can confuse yourself really well), please check out my earlier posts on the subject:

Woe Betide the Wisconsin Microbrewer?
Woe Betide the Wisconsin Microbrewer? (Follow-Up)
Another Brewer Speaks
Rob Larson of Tyranena Chimes In
|| Palmer, 8:05 AM

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