Watching Wisconsin: We Have The Amendment.

In Beer Politics by Karl

KARL: Well, how about that.

Yesterday, I wrote this:

If the budget vote (scheduled for this week, from what we can tell) reintroduces limits on collective bargaining, expect to see any concerns on the part of the major press outlets to disappear, but we’re glad they’ve chosen to shine a bit of their spotlight on the craft beer amendment.

And today, I awoke to read this:

Collective bargaining law goes into effect June 29th

And as such, I have seen a lot of coverage about the budget as it pertains to unions, to teachers, to labor, to spending, but nothing today about the Amendment concerning Wisconsin’s craft beer community.  If you want to read the entire budget bill, you can do so by downloading this PDF.  You will find nothing, unfortunately, about the beer-related amendment that was passed by the Joint Finance Committee.

Until now.

I’ve read a lot about this particular amendment in the past few days, but I haven’t seen a single piece that references the actual Assembly Bill for the budget, which is AB-40, nor the amendment itself.  There’s been no language, no citations, no references to actual quotations.  The amendment, known as Assembly Substitute Amendment 1, resides on a hard-to-find webpage located here.  You want the amendment?  You got it.

I’d love to get some crowdsourcing going here and you all can poke through this as you see fit, and hopefully this illuminates what the Wisconsin craft beer community is up against. It’s probably easier to download it, so you can find a PDF of the full Amendment linked here, and the craft beer amendment language begins on page 1063, section 125.01.  The amendment runs through page 1085, which is a full 22 pages of legal beer-related discussion.

The legislation for the 25 retail accounts is in there, the 300,000 barrel limit is in there, and unreported until now is that it also amends regulations on what size a “free sample” can be (3 ounces), as well as how many times a day a person can receive a sample (that would be twice).  It refers to Class A license holders, which I’m not sure if it refers to bars/taverns or brewpubs.  If it’s the latter, you might be getting less stewed at those brewery tours should this pass.  (Feel free to clarify for me as well if I’ve got it wrong, I’m happy to update.)

I should add that I never would have found this if not for the ridiculously helpful person on the other end of the phone at the Legislative Reference Bureau reference desk.  Check out the link or PDF, and let us know in the comments, on Twitter or on Facebook, what in the following is the most worrisome (if you can make it through the jargon).

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About the Author

Karl

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Karl has written about food, travel and beer for Chicago Magazine, Draft Magazine, Thrillist, Time Out Chicago and more. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, comes out in early 2017, and if you're buying, he's likely having a porter or a pale ale.