Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wis. Lawmakers Back Beer Industry

A couple of years ago, I moved back to my home state of Nebraska after spending seven years in Wisconsin. It's nice enough here, but there are a few things I miss about my former home. One is the deep understanding that the people, the communities, and the government have about beer and brewing. There, a minor can drink in a bar if accompanied by a parent. In Wisconsin, small breweries pay an excise tax of $1.00 per barrel on beer that is sold; here in Nebraska, we pay 30.69¢ per gallon on all production, including tank bottoms that end up going down the drain. Wisconsin's attitude towards drunk driving is unfortunately rather lax, but otherwise, it's a great place to run a brewery. Other states could certainly learn something from their model. Wisconsin understands.

"I guess everybody knows Wisconsin loves beer and beer helped build this state and make it what is," [Great Taste of the Midwest festival chairman Bill Rogers] said. "I think some of the legislators get it."

Apparently, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle gets it.

He signed into law a bill that ensured there would be no confusion about last call when taverns adjusted their clocks for daylight savings time in March. The Legislature made it clear that bartenders could keep serving after closing time sprang forward.

Doyle also signed a bill, behind unanimous support of the Legislature, allowing such retailers as grocery stores and liquor stores to promote a particular beer brand or special with free samples.

The legislative session hasn't gone completely in the brewers' favor, however.

Small brewery owners mounted a protest at a July hearing on a proposal to set new limits on how much beer they could produce. They handed lawmakers empty beer bottles stuffed with notes decrying the proposal.

The day before the hearing, angry brewers put a new spin on the Boston Tea Party and dumped beer into the Milwaukee River.

The bill's author subsequently tabled the proposal.

Read the entire article at Newschannel 7.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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