December 17, 2013
By Bryan Born, Wisconsin Corespondent
There is exciting news for craft beer lovers coming out of Wisconsin. Just before the weekend, Madison, Wis. newspaper The Capital Times published an article that more grocery stores may begin providing growler fills of draft beer in their liquor departments. Although nothing is official yet, I for one could not be happier about this possibility.
Currently, a Class A liquor license in Wisconsin permits “retail sale of fermented malt beverages (beer) for consumption off the premises. Examples: grocery or convenience stores.” Allowing customers to fill growlers seems like a big opportunity for microbreweries.
Just imagine the possibilities; stores could offer a much wider array of beer. Because most start up microbreweries do not bottle their beer for sale at stores, the only way to obtain their beer is to visit their brewery, or a bar or brewery that may be guest hosting a tap for them. Permitting growler fills at grocery stores would increase the opportunity for craft beer makers to get their product out to the public. And, since most people do not live next door to their favorite brewery, this could make it easier for beer drinkers to obtain their favorite beer.
Scott Stenger, spokesman and lobbyist for The Tavern League of Wisconsin said it is not likely his organization would support the idea. Though no proposal has been made yet, whether one would through legislature is in doubt.
On the upside of the issue, Whole Foods in Milwaukee allows customers to drink pints of beer from their taps as they shop.
“The beer on tap is extremely popular. People grab a beer and do some grocery shopping. It’s a good time,” Mike Buetow, the store’s manager said in The Cap Times article, “The growlers are popular, but the beer on tap is the bigger draw.”
So, while this measure does not seem popular with the Tavern League. I remain optimistic until I hear otherwise. I just hope this opportunity for craft brewers and drinkers alike is not lost in bureaucracy.
- Grumbling over the idea of growlers in Wisconsin grocery stores (host.madison.com)
- Fla. brewers seek to end ban on beer growlers (miamiherald.com)
Bryan Born is a beer enthusiast, plain and simple. His motto for beer is, “Gotta try ’em all.” Being from Wisconsin he has grown up in a culture that loves its beer and he celebrates the diversity of the fine beverage. He is on a personal quest to visit as many different breweries across the country as possible, to learn and meet as many other enthusiasts as he can.
You can follow Bryan on Twitter @borno23