Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s War On Craft Beer

Falldog

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Tucked into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) much-discussed budget was a little-noticed provision to overhaul the state’s regulation of the beer industry. In a state long associated with beer, the provision will make it much more difficult for the Wisconsin’s burgeoning craft breweries to operate and expand their business by barring them from selling directly to restaurants and liquor stores, and preventing them from selling their own product onsite.

The new provision treats craft brewers — the 60 of whom make up just 5 percent of the beer market in Wisconsin — like corporate mega-brewers, forcing them to use a wholesale distributor to market their product. Under the provision, it would be illegal, for instance, for a small brewer located near a restaurant to walk next door to deliver a case of beer. They’ll have to hire a middle man to do it instead.

But more noteworthy than the provision itself is how it was enacted. The provision was quietly slipped in the massive budget legislation without any consultation from independent craft brewers, who are justifiably outraged by it. One group that clearly did have input, however, is one of the world’s largest beer makers — MillerCoors:

Chicago-based MillerCoors, which operates a brewery and eastern division headquarters in Milwaukee, supports the proposal because it shares concerns with wholesale distributors about the possibility of Anheuser-Busch buying wholesalers throughout the country, said company spokesman James Wright.

Joining MillerCoors in support of the provision are industry associations that have an interest in preserving the current business of beer distributors, including the industry’s lobby, the Wisconsin Beer Distribution Association. But craft brewers see the provision as “a power grab” by MillerCoors that is targeted at them. OpenMarket.org reports:

Craft brewers say that MillerCoors is pulling a fast-one on the states legislature by selling this as a bill that would protect small beer from the brewing behemoth [Anheuser-Busch] InBev’s plan to monopolize the Wisconsin wholesale market. Craft brewers say that this is clearly not InBev’s intent, as they have passed up opportunities to purchase wholesalers in the state no less than 16 times since 2008. They say the real competition that MillerCoors is trying to protect itself against is the growing craft beer market. The restrictions the measure places on any wholesaler wishing to start-up in Wisconsin seem to support the craft brewers’ claims.

The provision is a classic bit of rent-seeking from MillerCoors, who appear to be seeking to preserve their current market share with the power of the state government.

But why would Walker — who calls small businesses the “backbone of our economy” and has postured himself as their champion — side with a foreign-owned mega-corporation over locally owned small brewers? It may have to do with the fact that MillerCoors, which is joint venture with foreign-owned SABMiller, donated $22,675 to his campaign.
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/06/10/239780/wisconsin-craft-beer/

In before completely disregarding the content of the article due to the source, sensationalist title aside
 

Don the Radio Guy

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And you can't "in before" to cover up the fact that you used a shitty source.
 

Party Rooster

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Tucked into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) much-discussed budget was a little-noticed provision to overhaul the state’s regulation of the beer industry.
Republicans: Less regulations except for when it comes to your bedroom and your vices!
 

Don the Radio Guy

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Republicans: Less regulations except for when it comes to your bedroom and your vices!
Do you really think this has to do with anything other than campaign donations? I doubt anyone in Madison gives a shit about people drinking beer. If the craft brewers had better lobbyists, they'd be fine.

Oh, and just in case you think things would be different if Walker had lost his election, think again. His opponent also got lots of money from MillerCoors employees.
 

Party Rooster

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Do you really think this has to do with anything other than campaign donations? I doubt anyone in Madison gives a shit about people drinking beer. If the craft brewers had better lobbyists, they'd be fine.

Oh, and just in case you think things would be different if Walker had lost his election, think again. His opponent also got lots of money from MillerCoors employees.


As usual you missed the point. We all know the Dems stances on regulations, I thought the Repubs were supposed to be above that?
 

whiskeyguy

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As usual you missed the point. We all know the Dems stances on regulations, I thought the Repubs were supposed to be above that?
Republicans and Democrats for the most part care about one thing, and that's the expansion of power and government... they just go about it different ways. Democrats are more for the regulatory and social expansion of government, while Republicans are more concerned with the military and moral legislation.

This is a little different issue than the federal government, as states have their own constitutions and the right to govern themselves pretty much however they want, but this is what happens when any government has too much power. If you allow a government excessive control over an industry, then of course lobbyists will buy whatever "favors" they can. Remove that power from the government, and there's no reason for lobbyists (from corporations, unions, or special interests).
 

Party Rooster

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Republicans and Democrats for the most part care about one thing, and that's the expansion of power and government... they just go about it different ways. Democrats are more for the regulatory and social expansion of government, while Republicans are more concerned with the military and moral legislation.
Deja vu...

Republicans: Less regulations except for when it comes to your bedroom and your vices!
This is a little different issue than the federal government, as states have their own constitutions and the right to govern themselves pretty much however they want, but this is what happens when any government has too much power. If you allow a government excessive control over an industry, then of course lobbyists will buy whatever "favors" they can. Remove that power from the government, and there's no reason for lobbyists (from corporations, unions, or special interests).
CITIZENS UNITED!!!
 

whiskeyguy

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I know, I was agreeing with you on that point. I'm not going to sit here and defend actions I disagree with simply because a Republican did it.

Edit: As for my other point, this is why Americans are so stupid. We think we can legislate morality on some issues and not others. For some reason the liberals think they can force their morality (in the form of environmental laws, worker's rights, language suppression, affirmative action, etc) and that's the end of it. However, once you fight for the government to have the power to regulate certain moral issues, they are going to expand that power to regulate other moral issues, such as gay marriage, abortion, and so on.

Once you allow the government to infringe on the freedoms of people you disagree with, freedoms you enjoy are at risk (there's probably some quote from a dead famous person I could post that says the same thing more elegantly, but it's late and I don't care that much).

Also, I'm not saying the liberals started legislating morality... I'm just pointing out the faulty mentality behind it.
 

Don the Radio Guy

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I thought the Repubs were supposed to be above that?
They're less bad, but you'll never find me saying that they're totally clean. The point is that this story is another bullshit blogger hitpiece that left out the major fact that nothing would be different if the party they support were in power.
 

CougarHunter

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Both parties are the same fucking scum, headed in the same direction. One just wants to get you there faster than the other.

In the end, there really is no "choice" in the matter at all.
 

TheDrip

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So basically as I understand it, this law is simply removing a special exemption, and bringing Wisconsin booze laws more in line with federal law.

The real problem isn't with this particular act, the problem is that the three-tier system as a whole needs to be massively overhauled. It's an antiquated piece of legislation. Thinkprogress ought to bitching about that, than playing their normal partisan bitching game.
 

CousinDave

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[video=youtube;MZoTJzh13n8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZoTJzh13n8[/video]
 

Don the Radio Guy

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Thinkprogress ought to bitching about that, than playing their normal partisan bitching game.
Being partisan isn't the problem. Treating them like they're legitimate journalism is. It took me exactly 5 minutes to find out that the other guy running for governor took just as much money (which wasn't a lot in the big scheme of things anyway) from the big evil beer company.
 

Ballbuster1

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What annoys me more than anything is this:
But more noteworthy than the provision itself is how it was enacted. The provision was quietly slipped in the massive budget legislation without any consultation
So much legislation gets passed because it's shoved into and hidden in bills that
have little or nothing to do with each other. It's such horse shit and both parties
are guilty of it and have been for years. It's fucking disgusting.
 

Don the Radio Guy

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What annoys me more than anything is this:


So much legislation gets passed because it's shoved into and hidden in bills that
have little or nothing to do with each other. It's such horse shit and both parties
are guilty of it and have been for years. It's fucking disgusting.
I wonder if there are any states that prohibit this sort of stuff.

Also, it's interesting that everyone knows this goes on, yet these "journalists" act like it's something unusual.
 

Ballbuster1

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I wonder if there are any states that prohibit this sort of stuff.

Also, it's interesting that everyone knows this goes on, yet these "journalists" act like it's something unusual.
Exactly. This is no surprise to any one and yet nobody does anything about it.
 

Norm Stansfield

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In before completely disregarding the content of the article due to the source, sensationalist title aside
Are you saying it's wrong to disregard content written by fake journalists? Why? What gives it information value, to be read by people interested in the truth?