Diverse Coalition of Lawmakers Voice Opposition to Craft Brewers Budget Provision

MacIver News Service | June 20, 2011

[Madison, Wisc…] A provision in the state budget affecting craft brewers is drawing opposition from an ideologically diverse, bipartisan coalition of lawmakers.

Seven legislators, five Republicans and two Democrats, wrote a letter to Governor Walker Tuesday asking that he veto the provision that restricts smaller brewers’ ability to wholesale each others’ products and own their own taverns, and which limits contract brewers’ ability to purchase beer from other microbreweries.

“As the number of big distributors shrinks, we have to ensure that these small business people are allowed to wholesale each others’ products and grow,” the lawmakers said. “In addition, this budget provision will negatively affect new contract brewers by forcing them to change their business models and hurting their chances of survival.”

The seven lawmakers include a few widely considered to be the most conservative and liberal members of the Wisconsin legislature.

Signing the letter were State Senators Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) and Pam Galloway (R-Wausau along with State Representatives Brett Hulsey (D-Madison), Steve Nass (R-Whitewater), Evan Wynn (R-Whitewater) and Joseph Knilans (R-Janesville).

“Paralyzing legitimate small businesses this way should not be the policy of a state we all want to be “Open for Business,”” they wrote. “Governor Walker, we know you are an advocate for the state of Wisconsin and its small businesses and we trust that you will undo the damage done by the Legislature to these hardworking businessmen and women.”

The Governor is expected to issue his vetoes and sign the 2011-2013 budget before the end of the month.