An Open Letter and a Call to Action
To the good people of Green Bay:
We have recently opened our doors and become a part of the burgeoning Green Bay craft brewing scene, and we need your help. Usually the way we ask you to support us is to come to our taproom and drink fermented beverages. It’s a tough job, but you’ve answered the call, and we appreciate every glass you’ve raised in our local establishment.
Now, however, we need to ask for your support in a slightly different way, one that doesn’t involve quite as much drinking at present, but will grant you the enjoyment of more fermented beverages in the future. Your local craft breweries—and by default, your craft beer drinking lifestyle—are in danger. There has been a proposal circulating among the state legislators in Madison that would change how Wisconsin regulates the production, distribution, and sale of beer. At its basic level, craft breweries would be required to buy our own beer back from a distributor, or we could not sell our own product in our taprooms. Bottom line for you as a craft beer lover—some of your favorite local establishments could go out of business, new craft breweries couldn’t even get off the ground, and at the very least the price of a good pint of beer goes up.
It is unclear who is pushing this proposal, but one of the most irksome things about it is that it was circulated without any input from craft brewers, and without any consideration of our economic impact. If there is a proposal brewing that would affect our industry, we should at least be invited to the table to discuss it.
We local craft breweries have a common goal: to make Green Bay a craft beer destination. And we are well on our way. There is a lot of collabeeration going on among your local establishments, and it’s a really great industry to be a part of. Craft breweries play a big role in our local communities, and thus, many Wisconsin communities would be affected by this bill.
We don’t know how politicky you are, but with our nation’s birthday coming up and with craft beer on the line, perhaps you could flex your political muscles and let your representatives know that you care about this issue. To make this as easy as possible for you, we are including a sample form letter (our thanks to Raised Grain Brewing Company) that you can copy and fill out to share with your state representative. Or give him or her a call (you can find representative contact information at www.wisconsin.gov).
We’re in this together, Green Bay. Thanks for your support—Cheers!
Dear Senator/Representative ________________________________,
I urge you to oppose any last-minute amendments to this year’s Budget Bill that would change Chapter 125 of the Wisconsin State Code. Any changes, if they make it into the Budget Bill, were drafted without consulting key stakeholders, including craft breweries, craft distilleries and craft wineries.
The changes as they are proposed could have dramatic and negative impacts on many of these small businesses, and may in fact put some of these small businesses out of business altogether. Craft beverage makers in Wisconsin provide many positive benefits: jobs, innovation, tourism dollars, to name a few. They also work closely with their local retailers and partner with wholesalers to bring their product to market.
Instead, we encourage you to invite all parties to the table—manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers—to make meaningful corrections to Chapter 125 that are equitable to and agreed upon by all parties, in a process that is done in open and public debate.