Video coverage of Eau Claire Miller/Coors beer dump

July 9, 2011
Blue Chedder

Were you wondering what 50 gallons of dumped beer looks like in the street? Here is your 28 second video answer.

This beer dump was at The Fire House bar in Eau Claire, which no longer will carry MillerCoors products, along with:

Red Eye Brewing of Wausau

Great Dane and Vintage bars in Madison

What exactly compelled Wisconsnites to dump a fluid they usually hold precious?

1-Walker and/or Republicans in the Joint Finance Committee put a provision in the budget that hurts craft brewers in Wisconsin while it helps MillerCoors compete against the InBev distribution network.

2-In what has become typical fashion, each Wisconsin Republican

in the legislature voted “yes” on Walker’s budget (you have to wonder what kind of threats Walker holds over them – or rewards are promised them)

3-Enough Wisconsinites were mad enough, wrote enough letters, and made enough calls [THANKS!] that at least 5 Republicans regretted their actions and joined forces with 2 Democrats to request a veto of the beer provision [link to that letter].

4-Walker ignored them and kept the beer provision intact. Memo to Walker: You shouldn’t have dared mess with Wisconsin’s finest beers. This is making a whole new set of people hate your glassy eyed ever-living guts.

What’s the Impact on Wisconsin Craft Brewers?

  • Craft brewers can not hold wholesale licenses. Instead they can have a special permit to sell. According to a brewer consulted by the Wausau Daily Herald, “With the wholesale license, small brewers ultimately could sell that part of their businesses and make money once they grow too large to handle distribution. With the new permit, that option is taken away, meaning the distribution component has no value for possible buyers”.
  • Small brewers can’t join forces with each other to distribute beer.
  • The provision also hobbles small brewers’ ability to expand on their brewpub model. Small brewers now can not operate any more than 2 restaurants. If a small brewer wants to have a financial interest in over 2 restaurants, not only can those restaurants not sell any of the brewer’s beer, they can not make over 60% of revenue from sale of alcohol. Jack Craver of Isthmus sums up this provision as ”a rather blatant attempt to appease the Tavern League”.

What does it all mean?

Republicans show their true colors as the champion of corporate power, lockstepping with Walker, and kicking a set of little guy businesses in the process. Meanwhile you and I will have to attend and promote beer pours, purchase craft beer, harass bars about their MillerCoors products, and bug our legislators. Know what? This is Wisconsin. We are 45% of Germanic heritage. We are going to fight back hard for good, homegrown beer.

To help you fight for the success of good beer in Wisconsin, I suggest visiting the facebook page TAPS (Taxpayers Against Political Shenanigans) and giving it a like. They’re going to keep us up to date on this stuff. Godspeed.

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