A little bipartisanship emerges to screw small brewers, pick up a few contributions | Wis.Community

A little bipartisanship emerges to screw small brewers, pick up a few contributions

It's always refreshing when you get a chance to step back from partisanship and focus on an issue that affects both political parties.

It's reminiscent of the good old days in Wisconsin politics when political adversaries could still get together over a beer.

Such is the case with the Joint Finance Committee's last minute decision to put a provision in the state budget seemingly protecting the big breweries from craft beer makers. The provision, reportedly aimed at Budwesier, makes it illegal for a brewery to own a beer wholesaler.

Cap Times reports:

“Everything in this bill is designed to make it harder for small craft brewers to grow,” says Deb Carey, a co-owner of New Glarus Brewing and a member of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild. “It is a slimy piece of legislation.”


Carey’s anger is fueled by the fact small brewers were never consulted about the change, even though they will be affected along with every other brewer in the state.


Proponents of the bill, including MillerCoors, the Wisconsin Beer Distribution Association, the Tavern League of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Grocers Association, are big players in the beer industry. They say the move is necessary to prevent any one company from monopolizing the “three-tier” beer market in Wisconsin.

Don't nod out yet; stick with us.

Now comes Cindy Kilkenny at the Fairly Conservative blog, who doesn't often live up to her proclaimed "even-handed manner" but does in this instance. Kilkenny links to more than nearly 300 contributions made by WOW Distributing of Waukesha in the past decade. When challenged that this was a MillerCoors bill, she links to 300+ contributions by MillerCoors, including $28,000 to Gov. Scott Walker.

Who says things have gotten too partisan in Madison, that there's no chance to reach across the aisle and work together?

You only wish it had happened on something that had a little broader impact -- maybe funding our public education system, for example. ,P. But, hey, it's a start.


June 7, 2011 - 4:33pm