I found in my inbox yesterday a bipartisan letter to Governor Walker regarding the recent MillerCoors/Distributors Legislation hastily written into this past week's budget.
Written by Senators Glenn Grothman (R - West Bend) and Pam Galloway (R - Wausau) and supported by Senator Robert Jauch (D - Poplar), and Representatives Evan Wynn (R - Whitewater), and Brett Hulsey (D - Madison), among others, the letter represents the clearest indication possible that craft brewers are not to be trifled with.
Following is the Press Release and Full Text of the Letter.
Request for Veto of Craft Brewer Provision
Legislators ask Governor Walker for partial veto of craft beer provision in budget
Madison: Today a bipartisan group of legislators led by Senators Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) and Pam Galloway (R-Wausau) asked Governor Walker to veto a controversial provision in the state budget that restricts craft brewers’ ability to wholesale other brewers’ beer, own taverns, and creates uncertainty among contract brewers.
“Wisconsin is known for its breweries, and allowing small craft brewers to own their own taverns will highlight their product,” Grothman said. “This is the type of provision that should have been dealt with in a separate bill. It was complicated and the thriving craft brew industry did not participate in drafting this provision.”
“This sends the wrong message to nascent businesses like Big Bull Falls Brewery of Wausau in that it restricts possible avenues of growth. It was particularly disturbing in that it came out of the blue with no time for craft brewers to respond,” said Galloway.
Senator Robert Jauch (D-Poplar) stated: “As a member of the Joint Finance committee, I can assure the Governor we were not given adequate information before we were forced to vote on this provision.”
Representative Evan Wynn (R-Whitewater) said: "Small businesses are the leaders of Wisconsin's economic recovery, and micro-breweries are no different. They employ many Wisconsinites directly, and many more through their purchase of quality Wisconsin ingredients. Wisconsin should be moving in a business-friendly direction and not legislating more needless government regulation."
“I am concerned that at this time of economic uncertainty we are sending the wrong message to these small growing businesses,” Representative Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) added.
June 21, 2011
Governor Scott Walker
Office of Governor Scott Walker
115 East Capitol
Madison, WI 53702
RE: Seeking a Veto of Craft Brewer Provision (Motion 414)
Dear Governor Walker,
The purpose of this letter is to request a veto of language inserted in the budget related to microbreweries and their ability to wholesale each others’ products, own their own taverns, and for contract brewers to purchase beer from other microbreweries.
There are over 60 craft brewers in Wisconsin. These small and growing businesses help define the very culture of this state. They will be greatly harmed by the new policy--a policy that should have been left
out of the budget in the first place.
We have no business punishing these small entrepreneurs. They hire Wisconsin workers, buy their natural products here, and provide millions of dollars in tourism revenue every year.
As the number of big distributors shrinks, we have to ensure that these small business people are allowed to wholesale each others’ products and grow. In addition, this budget provision will negatively affect new contract brewers by forcing them to change their business models and hurting their chances of survival. Paralyzing legitimate small businesses this way should not be the policy of a state we all want to be “Open for Business.”
Governor Walker, we know you are an advocate for the state of Wisconsin and its small businesses and we trust that you will undo the damage done by the Legislature to these hardworking businessmen and women.