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Author Topic: Wisconsin Bill 290  (Read 10022 times)

Offline boulderbrewer

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Wisconsin Bill 290
« on: October 20, 2011, 09:08:01 pm »
The long story short Northern Brewer has pursued their agenda to serve beer at their store in Milwaukee. Great! but this bill will torpedo home brewers. The Wisconsin Home brewers who have been working for more than 7 months crafting legislation that would allow us to serve at beer fests and outside our home. Enter Mr. Jake K a member of the AHA governing committee promoting bill 290, this helps Northern Brewer his employer but sticks a big road block to home brewers serving at beer fests. I wonder if he really cares about homebrewers other than their money that they spend at Northern Brewer.

I'm greatly disappointed in Mr. Keeler's actions, He is a member of the Wisconsin Hombrewers Assocation web group and we were never notified of their pending legislation.

I wonder where Mr. Keeler's allgiences lies.

Marc OBrien AHA member since 2005

Offline boulderbrewer

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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 10:41:32 pm »
You can follow this on the Northern Brewer Forum but if this get deleted there I will post the conversation from there.

From Cheshire_Cat

"While I am not from WI, this is a little disconcerting. I have been teaching government advocacy and grassroots lobbying for almost 12 years and it seems strange that individual homebrewer and "business" concerns in this issue were separated. We are always, always stronger in numbers. As sad as it is, the truth is it is easier today to protect businesses than it is to protect the individual. I have never met Jake beyond being an avid fan Brewing TV, yet I feel he is passionate about homebrewing and our community. I don't really believe anyone is throwing homebrewers under the bus, most likely someone is taking advance from people trying to protect their own interest. I give to the AHA, I truly hope they will step in and help protect WI homebrews. A slight against one is a slight against all.

I also hope that Jake will take the time to respond to Boulderbrewers concerns and outline what is planned to help protect individual homebrewers in WI regarding this issue."

Offline boulderbrewer

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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2011, 10:43:11 pm »
My response.

"The first we heard of this was from Gary Glass like 2 days ago, when it was up for a vote. Maybe we should look at the AHA under the same scrutiny. Why did we not hear this from the AHA! Hey wait Gary is a constant poster to the WIHBA! maybe Gary was blind (because of NB!) to this but alot of homebrewers trust the AHA and give alot of money to them but maybe NB has more money to blind Gary's eye.

I think this will be deleted before to many get to see this and I will be just a person with an axe to grind."

Offline boulderbrewer

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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2011, 10:45:11 pm »

Offline hopvine

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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2011, 06:52:06 am »
Could someone elaborate on what specific negative effects this legislation would have on homebrewers?

Offline weithman5

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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2011, 07:51:29 am »
the details in the nb post seems scant but I think it boils down to this :to serve beer to the public one must have a server (bartender)  qualification.  they don't need liquor license.  seems like a decent idea not to need the liquor license.  the undermining is that now any homebrewer who wants to serve his beer has to also get the bartender license.  a pain in the butt but does not seem too difficult to obtain for an individual.  just a lot of work for a lot of brewers to do.  it sounds like people with out the bartender permit can serve though as long as there is a supervisor, so at fests, maybe only one operator needs the permit.
Don AHA member

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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2011, 08:05:21 am »
As a member of the Wisconsin Homebrewers' Alliance, I too was surprised that all of a sudden this Bill 290 came out.  My initial thought was, why couldn't homebrewers have piggybacked onto the same bill to get accomplished what we have been working towards for the past ~9 months!?

And now, wow, I never thought about the whole bartender thing this way.  Yeah, at brewfests, it won't be a big deal because they're required to have a certain number of bartenders on premises anyway -- not every server needs to be a licensed bartender.  At least, that's how it's worked for over a decade.  But for small events where only a couple of homebrewers might want to serve their brew to the public, this could become a very big deal.  Now every homebrew club might have to dish out funds out of their treasury to pay for several members to become licensed bartenders!?  That seems a little goofy, seeing as how we could do exactly the same thing in our own homes without a license.  I'll keep my eyes and ears open for any developments in this area.

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline James Lorden

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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2011, 08:21:03 am »
What about Homebrew Competitions?  I wonder how that works its way through.
James Lorden
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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2011, 08:36:06 am »
What is a bartender certification, anyway?  Do you have to know how to make a buttery nipple to pour a beer?


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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2011, 08:47:04 am »
So, reading the NB thread, this stuck out:

Does the licensee or the agent always have to be at the premises when it is open for business?

No. There must be one or more licensed operators in charge of the premises. An operator's license is often called a "bartender's license." Not all bartenders must hold operator's licenses, but there must be at least one licensed operator in charge of the premises. If the premise is large, with several serving areas, bar areas, etc., licensed operators must be in charge of each discrete area, in order to supervise and direct unlicensed persons who may be selling/serving.

It sounds like the pourer doesn't haven't to be a licensed bartender, but there does need to be someone licensed who is in charge of the event.  Is this any different than serving commercial beer at a festival or non-bar?

Offline Gary Glass

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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2011, 09:11:14 am »
>The long story short Northern Brewer has pursued their agenda to serve beer at their store in Milwaukee. Great! but this bill will torpedo home brewers.

I cannot see any way in which AB 290 torpedoes homebrewers.  The bill language simply allows homebrew shops to make beer and wine on their premises for educational purposes, and to serve free samples of such beer and wine to their customers.  You can see the bill for yourself here:

After a committee hearing, the bill was amended to require an "Operators License", which as I understand it is simply a municipally issued bartenders license.  The example I've seen for this license runs around $100 for a two year license.  Of course, in my opinion, no license is better, but the license requirement seems consistent with other areas of the code addressing the serving of alcohol in businesses.  Including the amendment likely avoids opposition from other small business groups that have to comply with license requirements.

The bill language that we've been working with on the Wisconsin Homebrewers Alliance is all about homebrewers rights, but it does not address serving homebrew at homebrew supply shops, so I think AB 290 fulfills a separate need.  If AB 290 passes, I think that probably bodes well for passage of the homebrewer bill.  AB 290 is a pro-business bill with bypartisan support that has now brought the issue of homebrewing before the Wisconsin legislature.  In my mind that dramatically improves the chances for success of a grassroots homebrewers' rights bill, since educating legislators and getting them to care about a hobbyist bill is often the biggest challenge in getting homebrewer bills going.

Right now, I am optimistic for the chances of passage of the bill the WIHA has been working on.  Hopefully the bill will be filed soon so we can move on to pushing it through the legislative process.

Gary Glass
Longmont, Colorado

Offline jkeeler

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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2011, 09:23:14 am »
I'm happy to field questions, and clarify NB's actions in regards to WI AB 290.  I posted this response at the NB forum linked above, so pardon the repetition.  I 100% echo what Gary has said here, and I'd like to add the following:

1. NB and the AHA heard about the public hearing only days before it actually took place. So, we heard roughly the same time everyone else did.

2. NB decided to remove our business concerns from the WIHBA efforts on homebrewers' concerns 6/7 months ago because we did not want to railroad the efforts, and felt that separating the two concerns (business and homebrewers rights) would have be stronger served if dealt with separately. Our two issues were:

A. Homebrew shops cannot currently brew on the premise of our shop - homebrew/wine can only be made in one's residence. We sought to overturn this will bill 290 to simply allow us to brew homebrewed beer and wine on premise for research, development and educational purposes.
B. We cannot serve samples of any kind on our premise. For the record, this was never "legal" and if homebrew shops were doing it they were operating in legally grey area at best. Through bill 290 we sought to get legal permission to serve samples for educational purpose.

3. Rep. Kooyenga approached us to help draft the bill and we moved on the effort as quickly as we could.

4. The bill was introduced to committee last week with strong support, and it was then proposed to add an amendment requiring shops to acquire Operator Licenses for those employees who'd be serving the samples. These are often refereed to as "Bartender" licenses, and that is essentially all they are. Very simple, very reasonable. It would cost us, in West Allis, $97 for a two year license per employee.

This is something we already do in MN when throwing events and beer is served of any kind. It is required for our liquor liability insurance to be valid. Anyone serving alcohol of any kind should be properly trained, in the eyes of the law, to check ID's, verify age, and recognize over-consumption. This license is merely a way of ensuring that serving of samples is done in a responsible way.

5. The AHA is only involved in this effort (AB 290) as much as the fact that I am a member of the Governing Committee and I have been in touch with Gary Glass the entire time, and have deferred to him on judgment and opinion when taking action.  Gary has giving excellent support, guidance and advocacy for the homebrew shops in WI, and the homebrewers.  Although the efforts of Gary and the AHA may not all be visible on the surface, be assured they are involved and engaged.

6. I, and NB, truly think this bill is strong, makes sense for all homebrew shops, and will put any question as to serving samples and brewing on premise in the past. I do not think this will adversely affect homebrewers/WIHBA efforts in anyway, in fact I think it will help.

The WI government sees the economic vitality of the the homebrewing industry and customer base right now. They do not want to get in the way of it, and are looking to help in over-turning these interpretations and making sure homebrewing is once again vibrant and uninhibited in Wisconsin.

Further, I think this legislation, much like the legislation in Oregon, can be a blueprint for other states looking to protect homebrewers, and homebrew shops.

We, as an industry and hobby, have been operating in some grey legal space for a long time. Some places are better the other to be sure, but the days of flying under the government's (Federal, State, county or municipal) are over. Homebrewing is just too big to go unnoticed. Being that, I think it is better to get proactive about working with these entities to find practical solutions.

7. NB is committed to helping the WIHBA in their respective efforts, and the efforts of homebrewwers across this country. Sometimes we get distracted, busy and perhaps lose connection with these efforts....AB 290 admittedly may suffer from this. Regardless, we had every single shop and every single homebrewer in mind this entire time, and we will continue to do so moving forward.


Jake Keeler
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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2011, 10:12:49 am »
Thanks for the replies Gary and Jake.  It certainly makes it clearer.  I don't see "torpedoing homebrewers" at all.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2011, 10:34:26 am »
I don't understand how this could "torpedo homebrewers" in any way. This looks like a step in a positive direction for our community.

Thanks for the update Gary and Jake.
Ron Price

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Wisconsin Bill 290
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2011, 01:49:33 pm »
Jake Keeler:  "It was decided in the offices of NB that we would take up our business concerns separately from the homebrewer’s concerns to make sure one didn’t muddy the other’s chance of getting things changed."

So you don't think you muddied the waters for the homebrewers?  Will the homebrewers bill now have to include an exemption for the servers license at homebrew meetings/contests?  Or does it even apply?
Hannibal, MO