Let’s support the Wisconsin Legislature in this law allowing transport of Homebrew!!

GREEN BAY – A controversial bill is brewing in the Wisconsin State Legislature. It has to do with people who make their own beer and wine at home, and whether they should be able to transport it legally.

Having a beer is often part of having a good time with friends in Wisconsin, and those who make beer and wine at home say they wish they could do more of it with their own brews.

“It’s fun, for one thing. And it tastes good. It can be less expensive for equivalent beers,” said Bob Franklin, the owner of House of Home Brews in Green Bay.

But, those who brew in their basements say they’ve hit a snag. They can’t legally transport their beer to share with friends, or compete in home-brew club contests, without facing fines.

“They want to be able to share it, and they’re proud of their concoctions,” said State Representative Dean Kaufert, a republican from Neenah.

Republican Representative Dean Kaufert of Neenah has introduced a bill that would allow for the transport of homemade beer and wine.

Right now, beer and wine makers can be fined by Department of Revenue if they transport their product.

The Tavern League of Wisconsin says it supports the transportation of home brew. However, it has the issue of it being served as taste tests in stores.

“The tavern league thinks that samples of alcohol should only be served if there is a liquor license, and there is a licensed bartender,” said Barry Fitzgerald, the manager of St. Brendan’s Pub in Green Bay, and the President of the Brown County Tavern League.

Fitzgerald says the state tavern league wants an amendment to the legislation. Franklin says he had hoped to one day use the second room of his store for demonstrations and taste-testings. He hopes the legislation will keep that option open.

Kaufert says major beer distributors have protested the legislation as well, saying sharing home brew would be cornering their market. However, Kaufert says home breweries are limited to 100 gallons a year per individual.

“They don’t want to be in competition with the big breweries,” he said.

Home brewers we talked with say they’d rather drink their beer than try to sell it.

“Selling it is really not an option. If you want to sell it, it’s about $15,000 in the first year in licenses,” said Franklin.

Those who make beer at home, say they hope they’ll be able to finally share their brews legally sometime soon.

Kaufert says he and bill co-sponsor Senator Mike Ellis of Neenah are willing to make changes to the legislation. He says in order to get the home brew bill enacted quickly, however, they’d most likely need to have a vote before April, when many of the recall elections are expected to take place.

 

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