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Why do Wisconsin Republicans want to make life harder for small breweries?

Among the myriad of policy changes in the 2011-2013 biennial budget is a little-known provision that would make it more difficult to start a new beer brewing business in a state that has become famous not just for our big breweries (think Miller, Pabst, Schlitz, etc.) but for our smaller breweries like New Glarus, Sprecher, and Lakefront Brewery, just to name a few. The provision in question would revise “Chapter 125″ to prevent Anheuser-Busch InBev from buying wholesale distributors in Wisconsin, with the side effect of affecting small breweries as well.

Here’s some video of John Nichols sharing his thoughts on the provision:

Here’s some specifics about the provision that would revise Chapter 125:

  • A new brewery or wholesaler would not be able to sell his/her beer unless 25 separate independent retail customers were secured – meaning – a small biz could not just add 1 by 1 and scale the operation up slowly.
  • Eliminates current Wholesale investment in privately held Wisconsin Breweries while allowing investment in out of state and foreign and publicly traded breweries.

H/T to blue cheddar.

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