Wisconsin’s new beer sampling law

Yesterday the Wisconsin state senate and assembly passed a bill that will allow liquor and grocery stores to give small samples of beer (6 oz max) to people of legal drinking age.  I think this is a great bill as it will allow microbreweries a chance to have in store promotions and let us customerstry them out.  I know that Miller was a big proponent of this but it will probably not benefit them as much as it will the microbreweries (although it would benefit Leinenkugel’s) However I was under the impression that this was already allowed as there are a handful of places (which shall remain nameless since they were violating the law) that already have been giving small dixie-cup size samples of beer.  I don’t know what the policy on hard liquor is but I have also had samples of bourbon at an upscale grocery store that shall also remain nameless.


2 thoughts on “Wisconsin’s new beer sampling law

  1. Adding to the strange beer laws of Wisconsin topic, I went to Madison this weekend to the Great Dane Pub’s new location at Hilldale.

    They aren’t allowed to serve their own beer there because there’s a Wisconsin law that says any brewery in Wisconsin can only have ownership in two retail establishments that serve their own brewery’s products.

    Here’s the info from their website:

    We sure wish that we could offer you a freshly tapped pint of Peck’s Pilsner, Crop Circle Wheat, or another fine beer crafted by our talented team of expert brewers. Unfortunately, current state law prohibits us from doing so.

    The quick explanation is that an antiquated, post-prohibition statute states that any brewery in Wisconsin can only have ownership in two retail establishments that serve their own brewery’s products. The Great Dane is optimistic that by summer 2007 the law will be changed and our faithful patrons will be rewarded with the sweet nectars produced in our on-site brewery. Until then we have assembled for your quaffing pleasures a unique and varied selection of “Brewer Approved” beers from around Wisconsin and the world.

    To better serve you, our staff has worked hard to acquire an intimate knowledge of these “guest” brews as well as the Great Dane styles available at our other pubs. So if you are looking for a temporary substitute for, let’s say, the Stone of Scone Scotch Ale that you enjoy downtown, just ask your server or bartender and they will not steer you wrong. If you would like to know more about the relevant laws and the proposed changes that will allow our independent, local business to grow unfettered — your server can help you with that, too.

    The Great Dane appreciates your patience with this issue; in the meantime, we hope the fine selection of ales and lagers that have inspired and satisfied our brewery staff will quench your desire for a great beer — if not a Great Dane beer.


    Eliot Butler
    President, The Great Dane

  2. Liquor other than wine is still off the table for Class ‘A’ permits. And there’s little near term hope of getting that changed. Work on getting some kind of expection so a small distillery could have a tasting room (like the wineries) is still being worked on.

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