James Wigderson has the story. I thought Wisconsin was open for business?
Wisconsin’s event barn owners and operators are unhappy about the direction of a legislative study committee on the state’s alcohol distribution laws so far. These “wedding barn operators,” as they’re commonly known, have good reason to be concerned.
The chairman of the 2018 Legislative Council Study Committee on Alcohol Beverages Enforcement, Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander), is a former president of the Wisconsin Tavern League, and he’s determined to crack down on the competition. The committee is largely stacked in the Tavern League’s favor and not one event barn owner is a member of the committee.
At stake is a provision in the state law which allows these rural wedding venues to have alcohol on the premises for guests without having a liquor license. Wedding barns can allow alcohol to be served as long as the event is a private event and the wedding barn operators do not sell the alcohol – it must be purchased by the hosts of the private event.
The Legislative Council Study Committee will be meeting again on Wednesday. When the committee reconvenes, it will be hearing from the WATA for the first time. However, Swearingen has stacked the testimony by also adding three agricultural venue operators that are not working farms who also have liquor licenses for their venues.