Eau Claire (WQOW)- An Eau Claire brewer said a state proposal that's on tap could have negative repercussions for a growing industry in the Chippewa Valley.
The owner of The Eau Claire Brewing Projekt, Will Glass, said he believes that's just the tip of the iceberg. Glass is worried that new proposed regulations could reach beyond the borders of the Chippewa Valley and hinder the growth of the entire craft brewing industry in the state.
His concern stems from a draft proposal that was reportedly circulated by the Tavern League of Wisconsin,The Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association, and the Wisconsin Wine and Spirits Institute. According to the draft that News 18 has obtained, the bill would create an office of Alcohol Beverages Enforcement. The document also outlines changes to Wisconsin's three-tier system, laws that regulate how alcoholic beverages are manufactured, sold, and distributed in the state.
Glass believes the changes could prevent an individual from both brewing and selling beer in the same establishment. Glass said brew pub owners would essentially have to sell their product to a distributor and then buy it back from them. "What it could mean for us is we would have to really either bump up prices or we would have to take a significant cut in what a our margins are," said Glass.
News 18 reached out to the Tavern League of Wisconsin. We were directed to lobbyist Scott Stenger, who said he knows nothing of a draft proposal and the Tavern League would never support anything that would damage local brewers.