Giant Breweries Get Laws Passed In Wisconsin To Make Life Hard For Small Breweries [Updated]

from the small-businesses-are-the-backbone dept

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has presented himself as a very "business-friendly" governor in his first year in office and has specifically claimed that he's a supporter of small businesses as the "backbone" of the state's economy. But reports are suggesting that he's happy to support legislation that helps big companies at the expense of small companies. We've already covered the attempt, via AT&T, to kill Wiscnet (which only a very last minute reprieve saved). And now DoggyDork points us to the news of a new law that requires all beer makers, including tiny craft shops, to only sell beer through big middle men. That is, a small craft beer maker can't go to the restaurant down the street and sell its beer. Instead, it has to find a big distributor to sell for it. The article notes that the big beer companies, like MillerCoors, love this bill. But the small guys hate it, because it'll effectively kill off whatever sales they had. The cynical suggest that this is an attempt by the likes of MillerCoors to limit competition from these upstart competitors. Update: There's an informative, if incredibly insult-filled, comment, claiming that the story at ThinkProgress, our original link, is misreporting the details of this bill. That comment suggests that this bill is not quite as bad as they made it sound (and, of course, accuses us of being all sorts of evil for claiming otherwise). Update 2: And... a separate response suggests the explanation in that comment in the first update might not be accurate at all. Good debate going on in the comments.


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    fogbugzd (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 7:10pm

    Like butta...

    Back when margarine first started challenging butter on the dinner plate Wisconsin passed a law that strictly defined what butter was. Of course, that was done at the behest of the Wisconsin dairy industry.

    Within a few years the dairy industry found a need to change the way they made butter to better compete with margarine. But they couldn't because the law that they had crafted locked them in.

    I wonder if the craft beers will find a way to use the new law to put the big boys at a disadvantage. Maybe we should check back in 10 years and see how this works out.

     

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    Davis Freeberg (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 7:17pm

    All about taxes

    The problem with a direct system is that it's pretty easy for that restaurant to bypass the taxes that are normally accessed on alcohol. By funneling everything into a middleman, the state can insure that the brewer gets taxed, the middleman and the restaurant. The big vs. little is just a red herring, this is just a cash grab by the state.

     

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      btr1701 (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 7:39pm

      Re: All about taxes

      > By funneling everything into a middleman, the state can insure
      > that the brewer gets taxed, the middleman and the restaurant.

      The how come that doesn't apply to all products, just beer? If I'm making clocks, I can sell directly to retailers and somehow the taxes get paid. Why is beer so different?

       

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    Christopher Gizzi, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 7:35pm

    The First Broken System

    Beer and liquor production, distribution, and sale laws have always been mired in complex and ridiculous state laws that vary with each one.

    If you want to get an idea of how the internet would look like if it were more regulated, look at how beer is sold and you'll get an idea - that is if you can make sense of 50 different laws.

     

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    Transbot9, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 7:39pm

    Hrm...

    I wonder how that's going to affect the nearby microbrewery...

    As I understand it, because of Federal taxes, microbreweries already have sell and then buy back their brew so that the feds get their taxes. But I could be wrong.

     

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    Huh, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 7:45pm

    Messing with a cheeseheads beer? The gov better get an APC.

     

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    darryl, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 7:59pm

    Even playing field

    new law that requires all beer makers, including tiny craft shops, to only sell beer through big middle men.

    ALL means ALL Mike, seems to me like a even playing field, one that does not favor either the big company or the small one, nor does it make it any harder for the small brewer to sell to a shop than a large one.

    But mike, you manage to twist this using some form of warped logic.

    Alchohol is also a 'controlled substance' and a "food product" therefore there are specific requirements for it's distribution and sale.

    The 'middlemen' are the controlling authority for the product, they are the ones liable for providing product to business that are not allowed to have that product.

    To sell grog, you need a license, that is to ensure that you do no sell a substandard product, that you meet standards and you comply with the law.

    Ie, you dont sell to under age people ect.

    I would have thought that the fact that this forces an even playing field, and in no way restricts small or micro companies to produce product, when they do they are required to abide by the exact same laws and statutes as does the bigger manufacturers.

    Mike, do you really have that little of a clue of what is going on ?

     

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      Any Mouse (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 8:13pm

      Re: Even playing field

      Still pushin' the ol' moron barrow, are you, darryl? You do realize that any increase in bureaucracy will adversely affect small business without actually doing anything /good/, right? If not, then I have to assume you are being a willful moron, these days.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 8:20pm

      Re: Even playing field

      "big beer companies, like MillerCoors, love this bill. But the small guys hate it, "

      Obviously that statement is subjective, but so is:

      "that this forces an even playing field, and in no way restricts small or micro companies to produce product"

      I think we all have read about how laws have unintended consequences from this blog, even the 'fair' laws. This will be one to see how it plays out. And also, I don't know you're intention, but alcohol is not a 'controlled substance' in the strict sense. [ https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Controlled_Substances_Act ]

       

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      Rekrul, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 8:28pm

      Re: Even playing field

      ALL means ALL Mike, seems to me like a even playing field, one that does not favor either the big company or the small one, nor does it make it any harder for the small brewer to sell to a shop than a large one.

      And what happens when one of the giant brewing companies says to the distributer "If you do business with Big Mike Brewing, we'll pull our account."? Is it still a level playing field when the small brewers can't find a distributer willing to handle their product?

      Also, where's your assessment of how much more this is going to cost the small businesses and what percentage of profits they'll lose compared to the giant corporations?

       

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      Greg G (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:15pm

      Re: Even playing field

      ...that you meet standards...

      HA! Standards are one thing the mass producers like MillerCoors and Anheuser Busch/InBev can't keep up with.

      I'll stack up the beers from Leinenkugel (Chippewa Falls, WI) against any from those big breweries any day.

      If laws like this came to Texas, and my local breweries (Freetail Brewing, Blue Star Brewery, Ranger Creek, etc.) couldn't sell directly to places like the Flying Saucer, or Gabriel's or Spec's, it would be nearly impossible for me to get those beers at a reasonable price (Ranger Creek's La Bestia Aimable is already about $12 for a 750ml bottle, but it is quite good.)

      Darryl, as always, is completely missing the mark and has no clue as to what's really going on.

      Don't mess with my craft brewers, because the alternative is mass produced swill.

       

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        The Original Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:46am

        Re: Re: Even playing field

        Unfortunately Leinie's is now just another subsidiary of another conglomerate: SABMiller.

        http://www.sabmiller.com/index.asp?pageid=316

        (They make you "sign in" by entering your birth date before you can view some pages that have photos of beer bottles. How silly.)

        Minnesota just passed a law going the other way. Small breweries are now allowed to sell their own beer on the premises if they wish.

         

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          Greg G (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 3:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: Even playing field

          Hmm... I guess as long as that big conglomerate doesn't mess with Leinie's brewing processes, I'm kind of OK with it.

          Kinda like InBev getting so damn big it swallowed up Anheuser Busch. I don't drink Bud or Bud Light, but I think Widmer Brothers is part of Anheuser Busch and they make good beers, oh well.

          Maybe I'll look for brews from MN down here in TX. Anyone in MN want to send me some samples?

           

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        Donnie, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 6:59pm

        Re: Re: Even playing field

        Er... Leinenkugel is owned by Miller.....

         

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      Chris-Mouse (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 10:39am

      Re: Even playing field

      ALL means ALL Mike, seems to me like a even playing field, one that does not favor either the big company or the small one, nor does it make it any harder for the small brewer to sell to a shop than a large one.

      what happens when the big middleman distributor tells the small brewery "your one truckload of beer a week is too small a shipment to be worth our time. Come back when you can ship five or six truckloads a day"

       

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      Dan Secrist, Jun 26th, 2011 @ 10:58am

      Re: Even playing field

      As Voltaire pointed out, the prohibits rich and poor alike from sleeping rough under bridges and in public parks. Is that what you mean bya level playing field?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 8:32pm

    Beer Wars Movie

    The "Beer Wars" movie covered this pretty well. You can watch it via Netflix streaming.

    Website here: http://beerwarsmovie.com/
    Trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY-Bg5Odi0M

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 8:51pm

    You characterizing yourself as a journalist, borders on fraud. Every article finds you distorting the truth in order to "bring down the man". Once again, a simple search of local newspaper articles reveals that you are full of shit (again). Note that Anheuser-Busch opposes the bill and MillerCoors, LLC suports it. So where is the "Giant Breweries Conspiracy"? Also notice that the bill allows brewers that make less than 300,000 barrels annually to do their own distribution. Wisconsin's largest indy craft brewer, New Glarus, sold less than 100,000 barrels in 2010. So that pretty much means it doesn't apply to the little guys at all. You must have a very high threshold of embarrassment to continue to spew this sort of nonsense Masnick.

    From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

    "The legislation, approved Tuesday night by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, is designed to stop Anheuser-Busch from buying wholesale distributors, say its supporters, including a beer wholesalers lobbying group. Opponents say those fears are exaggerated, with craft brewers saying the legislation would hamper their growth prospects.

    Most of the nation’s beer is sold by brewers to independent wholesalers, which earn a profit by reselling the beer to supermarkets, taverns and other retailers. That three-tier system has operated since Prohibition’s repeal, and was created to prevent brewers from forming monopolies making, distributing and selling beer – which existed before Prohibition. …

    The proposal endorsed by the Joint Finance Committee is needed to avoid a similar court challenge in Wisconsin, and to prevent Anheuser-Busch from buying distributors, says Tim Roby, spokesman for the Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association. The proposal also is supported by MillerCoors LLC, Anheuser-Busch’s chief rival, and groups representing retailers, including the Tavern League of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Grocers Association.

    The legislation prohibits brewers from buying wholesale distributorships, while allowing brewers that produce up to 300,000 barrels annually to do their own wholesale distribution.

    Some Wisconsin craft brewers do their own wholesale distribution. Others sell their beer primarily through wholesalers, while also doing limited self-distribution by selling beer at festivals or filling emergency orders from taverns. The state’s largest independent craft brewer, New Glarus Brewing Co., sold about 92,000 barrels in 2010."

     

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      Any Mouse (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:01pm

      Re:

      Got any links, there, skippy? Why don't you also go over to the linked article and berate them for their obviously-poor reporting?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:17pm

        Re: Re:

        Wow Masnick has his own personal apologist? There are a dozen articles out there including ones that link to the actual bill. Try Google dipshit.

        Masnick chose to source a fellow conspiracy-theorist, tin foil hat wearing rag rather than a dozen other reputable sources in his pathological need to make something out of nothing. He crafted a headline to make it appear that this was another one of big business conspiracies he seems to see everywhere, failing to note that MillerCoors was on one side and A-B on the other and that it exempted breweries producing under 300k barrels/year (which appears to be every indy brewer in the state). This is just one more example of how Masnick's personal agenda colors his so-called "journalism".

         

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          Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 10:53pm

          Re: Wow Masnick has his own personal apologist?

          I guess the answer is “no”, then.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 4:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You aren't exempted for having less than 300k barrels though.

          You have to do more than that. You have to have 25 different customers. This makes it very difficult for small brewers starting out.

          It also eliminates small brewers having a couple of breweries and putting restaurants out front. That's a pretty popular business model.

          http://positivebusiness.co/news/stop-millercoors-tapping-out-local-breweries

          If the legislation is about stopping Inbev, then why add the other stuff to it? Why cap a small brewers growth at 300k barrels? Why make it more difficult for distributors to get a license?

          Walker was elected with the promise of creating 250,000 jobs. He promised to do this by removing legislative obstacles to growth. How does this new legislation do anything to help small brewers when it only creates legal loopholes for them to jump though?

           

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          Any Mouse (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 10:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I could resort to the same low-brow, sophomoric jackassery as you, but really, you are your own worst enemy. Insult laden, anger-driven rhetoric with no supporting linkage is just ever so compelling! If you can't support your arguments as others do, then you really are just pissing in the wind.

           

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        Rob, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 9:51am

        Re: Re:

        The AC should provide his own links, but google DOES work:

        http://wisconsinwave.org/news/mjs-anti-craft-beer-bill-passed-joint-finance-committee

        of course, AC probably didn't provide a link because the end of the article refutes his point a bit:

        "However, self-distribution is often less efficient than selling beer through a wholesaler, said Hamilton, Wisconsin Brewers Guild president. As wholesalers have consolidated, there are fewer choices for craft brewers, who often find that larger wholesalers are devoting less attention to selling smaller-volume craft brands, Hamilton said.

        Instead of self-distributing, or relying on their current distributors, some Wisconsin craft brewers have discussed the possibility of joining forces to buy or start a beer wholesaler, he said. But the legislation would prohibit that approach, which could restrict future growth for craft brewers, Hamilton said."

         

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 10:25pm

      Re:

      You characterizing yourself as a journalist,

      I don't, I'm a blogger. I post what I find interesting, and I have open comments so that people can add to the story, as you did.

      Not sure why you have to be such an asshole about it.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 10:51pm

        Re: Re:

        Funny, the only thing you seem to find interesting are totally biased, slanted, distorted portrayals of issues (which you either post or create yourself) where you are able to demonize either the government or big business.

        Why don't you simply retract the whole thing and do some honest reporting for a change? Otherwise, just post shit from the supermarket tabloids which generally have higher journalistic standards than you bother to observe here.

         

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 10:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Funny, the only thing you seem to find interesting are totally biased, slanted, distorted portrayals of issues (which you either post or create yourself) where you are able to demonize either the government or big business.

          As I said, I post what I find interesting, and I expect that people will add to the story -- that includes corrections, other points of views, additional information, etc. The idea is that we all learn.

          I didn't realize that was such an evil idea.

          Why don't you simply retract the whole thing and do some honest reporting for a change? Otherwise, just post shit from the supermarket tabloids which generally have higher journalistic standards than you bother to observe here

          I'm not a reporter. Why do you pretend I am? I already explained what I do. I recognize that you have trouble understanding this. You added something valuable to the conversation, and I appreciate that and linked to it from the post.

          What I don't understand is your need to be an asshole about it all.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 11:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            When you are right, you are right, and when you are wrong, you are just a blogger.

            Way to wiggle!

             

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            Rabbit80, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 2:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I agree that this Ac is being an asshole - its not pleasant reading, even if it does contribute to the conversation. I find it totally offensive that people cannot be respectful in their comments!

            Can we have an 'Ignore this asshole' button?

             

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          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
             
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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 2:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Anyone that calls out Mike Masnick for his serial bullshit = asshole.

            Masnick's recent self-immolation has been a true pleasure to observe.

             

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              Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 6:18am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Masnick's recent self-immolation has been a true pleasure to observe.

              This is AC's way of saying he masturbates while posting his idiotic comments.

               

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              Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 10:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Anyone that calls out Mike Masnick for his serial bullshit = asshole.


              Not at all. People have called me out for making mistakes or disagreeing with me in the past. That's fine. This individual is, pretty clearly, being an asshole. I think it's pretty easy to understand the difference between constructive criticism, correcting errors... and being an asshole.

               

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          RadialSkid (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 7:58am

          Re: Re: Re:

          What part of "I don't, I'm a blogger" are you having trouble with?

          Also, for the record: Making a claim that then encouraging others to Google your sources for you? That isn't how it's done.

           

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      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 10:52pm

      Re: So where is the "Giant Breweries Conspiracy"?

      WHAT “Giant Breweries Conspiracy”? Strawman, much?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 11:07pm

        Re: Re: So where is the "Giant Breweries Conspiracy"?

        you read the headline larry?

         

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          The eejit (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 11:38pm

          Re: Re: Re: So where is the "Giant Breweries Conspiracy"?

          This is WI, recently renamed FitzWalkerStan. Forgive soem of us for reacting like the Hellmouth just opened there and let loose both Pinhead and GLaDoS on the world.

           

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      sheenyglass (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 11:47pm

      Re:

      Umm after taking your advice, I poked around and discovered that the proposed law would require the craft brewer making less than 100,000 barrels per year to choose between a retail sales license OR a distribution license, rather than being able to have both. Meaning a brew-pub could not also sell its beer in the supermarket next door, a situation reminiscent of the one described in the TP article you disparaged.

      In other words, after looking into this issue as you recommended, I am saddened to discover that you are completely wrong. Perhaps you would have seen this had you taken off your rage-colored glasses before commenting.

       

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      Karl (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 11:49pm

      Re:

      As one who enjoys craft brews (i.e. a beer snob), and is also a homebrewer, I'm actually pretty interested in this story.

      It appears that you are glossing over the concerns of small breweries. In fact, I've yet to see a single craft brewery that is in favor of this bill.

      The consensus seems to be this:
      This motion was sold to the legislators by Miller/Coors and the Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association on the premise that it would protect Wisconsin from a hostile AB/InBev take over of many current Wisconsin wholesalers. This is simply a farce. Since InBev took over AB, they have had 16 opportunities to buy wholesalers and have passed 16 times. Here is the real truth….Miller/Coors and the WBDA are threatened by the growth that is happening in the craft beer industry. Craft is the only segment of beer that is growing, and it is growing by double digits. Wholesalers also fear that breweries will band together and begin to distribute their own beers.

      - O’so Brewing (quoted in Eat Wisconsin)

      Indeed, I took your advice, and did a "simple search of local newspaper articles." Here's some I found:
      Boot beer brouhaha from budget (Madison.com)
      Craft brewers prepare to fight possible brewing changes (NBC26)
      Small brewers say they're victims in Miller-Bud war (Wasau Daily Herald)
      Craft brewers vent anger over budget provision (The Cap Times)
      Bill to limit brewers' ownership of distributors stirs worries (Journal-Sentinel Online)
      South Shore Brewery Concerned About Pending Legislation (Ashland Current)

      It also turned up an opposition statement and fact sheet from Tyranena Brewing Company (both PDF's). And another oposition statement from Wisconsin Positive Business Alliance. And YouTube video of Jim McCabe (Milwaukee Brewing Company) speaking out against the bill.

      So, where are the people that are actually for this motion? Well, there's a facebook page that looks an awful lot like an astroturfing site. In fact, Craft Beer Critic makes this astute observation:
      Oh yeah, the other interesting thing about this group is they claim to be based at 456 E Morgan Street, Madison WI 53073. The problem is that that address does not exist. There is a Daniel Morgan Avenue in Madison but it is not in the 53073 zip code. Oops!

      If you want to read it, the text of Motion 414 is posted on Madison Beer Review. It's a bit more complicated than Mike said, but according to local brewers, he's right about its effect:
      According to the Wisconsin Positive Business Alliance, legislative restrictions on craft brewing across Wisconsin could result in small breweries losing their wholesale and retail licenses, not being able to distribute their own products, and not being able to have ownership in two or more restaurants.

      - from the Ashland Current article linked above

      So... Maybe before you call someone a "fraud", claim that "Every article finds you distorting the truth," and say that they are "full of shit (again)," you should take a long, hard look in the mirror.

       

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        HothMonster, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 10:57am

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, its not an issue for quite the reasons Mike listed in the original article but it is still a big issue for a little guy despite the points raised by the rude brown AC (are they the same color for everyone?).

        The less than 300,000 barrels makes it seem small brewery friendly but their are a bunch of other small provisions other people have already mentioned that make this bill very dangerous for the little guy brewer and the tiny on-site brewpub/restaurant, which Wisconsin is jammed full of(I highly recommend the SouthShore Brewery if you ever find yourself in Ashland WI, which you probably wont because its a tiny little shithole in the middle of nowhere and inbetween almost nothing, the food sucks but they got some amazing brews).

         

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          Dan Secrist, Jun 26th, 2011 @ 11:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I wonder if this has anything to do with reports of Walker being refused service at a local Madison brew pub?

           

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        Greg G (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 3:15pm

        Re: Re:

        Nice one, Karl.

        Beer snobs, unite! Our pursuit of happiness is under attack and we can't allow this to continue, or today it's Wisconsin, tomorrow, the world!

        We must fight!

        "It's only Wisconsin!"

        "I got the shit kicked out of me in Wisconsin."

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 11:50pm

      Re:

      "You characterizing yourself as a journalist, borders on fraud."

      If anything, you claiming that he characterizes himself as a journalist is more fraudulent than had he really characterized himself as a journalist.

      "Every article finds you distorting the truth"

      You mean like how you're distorting the truth by claiming that he characterizes himself as a journalist?

       

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      Anonymoose Custard, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 9:09am

      Re:

      It'd be nice if you linked to the bill and/or law in question., so we can analyze it for ourselves instead of relying on your vitriolic, unattributed repost of an unnamed source.

      If you want to prove Mike wrong, then do so with evidence, please, not vitriol.

      Vitriol does not a case make.

       

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    abc gum, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:08pm

    Honestly - at this point anything that douche bag gov does is highly suspect at best.

     

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    Designerfx (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:13pm

    already been done across the border

    this happens in illinois, and it's exactly like you say. it has basically killed small breweries, everyone has to go through an overpriced middleman...resulting in higher prices as well.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 9:27pm

      Re: already been done across the border

      Before the "ass-kiss chorus" goes to far overboard with bullshit propaganda to try to prop up this bullshit story, I refer you to the IL Liquor Control Act:

      "A craft brewer's license, which may only be issued to a licensed brewer or licensed non‑resident dealer, shall allow the manufacture of up to 465,000 gallons of beer per year. A craft brewer licensee may make sales and deliveries to importing distributors and distributors and to retail licensees in accordance with the conditions set forth in paragraph (18) of subsection (a) of Section 3‑12 of this Act."

       

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      •  
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        Travis Miller (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 1:56am

        Re: Re: already been done across the border

        "Paragraph (18) of subsection (a) of Section 3‑12 of this Act" also guarantees a MINIMUM of 45 days between application and approval of this "exemption", with no stated maximum period. And as stated, this isn't a license they get through normal means, but an exemption to the standard license restrictions.

        Enough bureaucracy to for some to go through the middle men instead. It isn't necessary to ban something when you can just make it worse than the alternative.

         

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    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
       
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 2:54am

      Re: already been done across the border

      this happens in illinois, and it's exactly like you say. it has basically killed small breweries

      The idiocy on this blog knows no end...

      http://www.chibeerweek.com/

      http://www.metrobrewing.com/

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:46pm

        Re: Re: already been done across the border

        Apparently the above comment was flagged for being too factual, and ironically further proved it's point.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Dan Secrist, Jun 26th, 2011 @ 11:16am

          Re: Re: Re: already been done across the border

          Posting links to marketing instruments doesn't actually prove anything, except that some entity exist to produce said instruments. Says nothing about health of the business sector.

           

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  •  
    identicon
    Revelati, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 10:31pm

    PA has had draconian laws on alcohol production and distribution in place for a hundred years. The PA liquor control board (PLCB) buys sells and distributes all beer and liquor in the state. Nothing can be shipped in or out without the PLCB, nothing can be bought or sold without the PLCB. At least until the US supreme court stepped in and struck down shipping laws for wine.
    http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/Pennsylvania-Wine-Shipping-Laws-Declared-Unconstit utional_2811

    Even with this chink in its armor, the PLCB remains A STATE ENFORCED MONOPOLY in the communist vein that would seem more at home in Cuba.

    Wisconsin is attempting to nationalize its alcohol industry much as PA has done because the profits it can make controlling the distribution of alcohol are staggering. The wal-marts of beer don't care because their margins don't need to be that big to turn a profit, so in a state like PA enacting an 18% excise tax (to pay for the Johnstown flood of 1936) on a case of bud light is not going to affect much, it is still profitable to sell. But for smaller producers, already hobbled by the states refusal to distribute small amounts, it is even more crippling since the margins needed for profitability are much higher.

    Sorry, I guess this isn't directly related to the WI article, Id just hate to see another state slip down the same slope PA did.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      jason, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 8:18am

      Re:

      Your comment is way more related to the matter than the "Mike's not a journalist, blah, blah bah" comments - and you're right. PA's laws are crazy, the PLCB is ridiculously powerful, and it is a shame that other states would even consider moving in that direction.

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 9:02am

        Re: Re:

        PA liquor laws are ridiculous for the consumer. I can go up the street to the Dress Barn-sized "State Store" and peruse its half-empty shelves like a former Soviet state resident, or I can drive 20 minutes to Delaware and purchase whatever I'm looking for at one of many Home Depots of Booze. And then hope I'm not pulled over on the way home, fined and my purchases confiscated for daring to exercise my consumer right to choice.

        All that aside from having to go here for beer, here for wine/liquor, here for non-alcholic beverage, food and/or party supplies...seriously, just throwing a small backyard bbq requires a stupid amount of route planning, driving, parking, time and gas-wasting...OH and the introduction of "breathalyzer" kiosks (you blow onto a sensor and someone somewhere validates results and driver's license...LOL...god) that all decided to malfunction at once...total boondoggle...

        There are movements afoot in PA govt. to change this up (again - past attempts have withered on the vine), but the PLCB is so entrenched in cronyism the fight is always uphill.

        I happened to catch part of a debate on the matter a few months back and it was hilarious watching a congressman (forget who) try to defend the system as is - he had nothing to work with, really.

        Booze is big business. Tax it and get the hell out of the market, you grasping governments, you!

         

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  •  
    icon
    Shane C (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 10:54pm

    {sigh}

    Trolls and AC's aside, it was in vogue for many states to implement a three tier system after the end of strict Prohibition. 1) Manufacturer 2) Distributor 3) Retailer

    Generally speaking, only in limited circumstances can a those roles blur together. For example, micro-breweries that manufacture, and sell on site, are often (but not always) exempt from the three tier setup. Yes, in some states micro-breweries are required to ship their product to a distributor, get a Federal Tax Stamp, and have it shipped right back to them. As many have said, welcome to the Alcohol Laws in the US.

    I make mention of the end of "Strict Prohibition" because in many ways Prohibition has not ended. The US Government did not make Alcohol legal in the same sense that it was legal before Prohibition. Instead, the restrictions on it were loosened, and it was made legal in certain circumstances. Very controlled, and heavily taxed circumstances.

    All that being said, many states are considering removing the mandatory three tier system (of course the distributors are fighting this tooth and nail), as it is often viewed as a unnecessarily contrived setup who's functionality has come to pass. (sarcasm) It's nice to know that Wisconsin is stepping up to the early 20th century. (/sarcasm)

    And if you think the brewing of beer is bad, you should see the laws surrounding the distillation of liquor.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2011 @ 11:03pm

    "That comment suggests that this bill is not quite as bad as they made it sound (and, of course, accuses us of being all sorts of evil for claiming otherwise)."

    Not quite as bad??? It only points out that your headline is patently false- A-B and MillerCoors were on opposite sides of the bill, not working together in an evil big business conspiracy. And that the bill exempts indy WI brewers making less than 300,000 barrels/year when the largest indy currently makes less than 100,000. So yeah, not quite as bad; but eerily consistent of the specious fantasies you spin around the Protect IP and Felony Streaming bills.

    I don't know why you think being a blogger some how gives you a pass when it comes to truth and accuracy. Typical zealot. If the facts don't suit, distort or manufacture new ones.

     

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    •  
      icon
      The eejit (profile), Jun 20th, 2011 @ 11:39pm

      Re:

      Well, thank you for clarifying, even if you were a douche the size of Saturn about it, 'kay?

       

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      •  
        icon
        velox (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:03am

        Re: Re:

        Perhaps our disinhibited Blue AC "friend" had imbibed a few of those barrels he's been talking about before he sat down to try and find the keyboard tonight.

         

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        velox (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:03am

        Re: Re:

        Perhaps our disinhibited Blue AC "friend" had imbibed a few of those barrels he's been talking about before he sat down to try and find the keyboard tonight.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:32am

      Re:

      I don't know why you think being a blogger some how gives you a pass when it comes to truth and accuracy.

      It's odd how may fail to understand what a blog is.

      Blogging is a commentarial form of communication and not a journalistic one, and as such should never be confused as the latter. Even if the blog is from a reporter, it should not be held to the same standards.

      You don't hold tweets to this standard do you? Facebook posts? The crazy guy on the corner with a sign board denoting 'the end is near'?

      I'm not sure why I just wasted my time on an internet argument, the parties targeted are most likely the same trolls who fail to understand the difference between steal and copy.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 1:21am

      Re:

      I don't know why you think being a blogger some how gives you a pass when it comes to truth and accuracy

      I said no such thing. (1) the original post at TP made these claims. I reposted them here because I found them interesting. (2) I am very much interested in truth and accuracy which is why this *is a discussion site*. I post what I find interesting and I expect the community to add more information and details. And so we all learn. So we learn that TP exaggerated, but further down below, we also learn that you too are exaggerating and misrepresenting the bill.

      So, I have to ask, why didn't you heed the journalistic standards you've made up that you insist I must follow? And, what journalistic standards involve being a total and complete asshole?

       

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    •  
      identicon
      JMT, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 1:26am

      Re:

      I genuinely hope you haven't bred, because the last thing this world needs is more kids being raised by people who turn into complete assholes when they sit in front of a keyboard.

      Are you genuinely not capable of having a discussion with someone you disagree with without resorting to angry abuse? With that attitude I wouldn't take a thing you said seriously.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 5:03am

    From the tone of some comments here, it appears that someone has a dog in this race.

     

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  •  
    icon
    ComputerAddict (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 5:40am

    Vermont has the exact same system, in fact our breweries have to buy back THEIR OWN BEER FROM DISTRIBUTERS if they want to fill growlers at the factory. This is why some of our micro-brews can only serve sample size (less than 3 oz i think) during factory tours. We have a ton of brew pubs that make and serve at the same location but you wont be able to find them in a store as it requires separate licenses.

    It can make it very hard for brewers with a small base because distributors do not want to pick up a brewery that only puts out a few kegs week. It doesn't make financial sense for most of them to distribute on such a small scale.

    That being said we have hundreds of micro-brews that do make it and grow so it's not impossible... just harder.

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 5:51am

    Seriously? These comments were flagged? Shame.


    "Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 2:49am
    Anyone that calls out Mike Masnick for his serial bullshit = asshole.

    Masnick's recent self-immolation has been a true pleasure to observe.
    [ reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]
    This comment has been flagged by the community. Click to re-hide it.
    insightful funny report

    Re: already been done across the border

    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 2:54am
    this happens in illinois, and it's exactly like you say. it has basically killed small breweries"

    The idiocy on this blog knows no end...

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 6:44am

      Re:

      And at this point, I'm reporting all of your posts.
      They take away much more from the conversation they add.

      Good day.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:51pm

        Re: Re:

        You freetards are such hypocrites. You like to use the censorship issue as a smokescreen for your behavior, but of course have no problem censoring someone for the smallest thing that you might not like.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          JMT, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 4:36pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's not surprising that you don't know what censorship actually is. This is nothing of the sort. You can still read the flagged comments can't you?

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 6:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          There are polite ways to bring attention to incorrect/incomplete reporting. The regulars here use them all the time. And corrections are made all the time, and I read the comments, all the time, because often a necessary clarification or interesting other info is found there.

          Politeness is important for a few reasons:

          1)Lack of politeness detracts from the issue at hand. I've read the arguments and counter-arguments for being an asshole/having a dissenting opinion, (That is, which one is true), I don't want to read them again for the millionth time

          2) Lack of politeness also causes a number of effects to kick in; The backfire effect, for example. (IE: Because they read your refutation as hostile, it makes them less likely to adopt your position, than if you had said nothing).

          3) The 'us or them' mentality. Turns out, the real world is much more complex than two sides of a line.


          TL;DR: I don't care what you have to say, 'you', (plural you, including the person who started this idiocy), have caused a number of people to waste their time calling you an asshole rather than to research the issue more, or make offhand observations that might lead others to discover a little bit more about what's happening. Don't be an asshole, and I will value your input as much as I do that of any other member of the community.

           

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        •  
          icon
          AW (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 8:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This subject makes you stutter when you read it aloud

          Wait what? What does any of this have to do with free anything? Is someone giving away beer and I missed it?

          Damn you Mike for leaving that out...maybe if you were a better reporter you could post factually inaccurate television shows like Fox News...why aren't you Fair and Balanced? Yous should show the side of the argument that you believe and then have a completely weak strawman that looks like you're actually presenting both sides.

          To add to the amusement of this article the advertisement was for Chivas.

           

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    •  
      icon
      Jeremy7600 (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 6:45am

      Re:

      Yes, you see, there's a button named "report" on every post. This allows the community to flag messages. After it reaches a certain threshold of votes, it is "hidden", but since you are new here, you haven't figured out that even the regulars know that if they click on a hidden comment they can see it for themselves. Oh wait, you already did since you copy and pasted them. Thanks, we couldn't have figured it out on our own.

      The internet is a vast frontier, don't get all worked up over nothin, pal.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Jeremy7600 (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 6:46am

      Re:

      Yes, you see, there's a button named "report" on every post. This allows the community to flag messages. After it reaches a certain threshold of votes, it is "hidden", but since you are new here, you haven't figured out that even the regulars know that if they click on a hidden comment they can see it for themselves. Oh wait, you already did since you copy and pasted them. Thanks, we couldn't have figured it out on our own.

      The internet is a vast frontier, don't get all worked up over nothin, pal.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      AJ, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 7:00am

      Re:

      "The idiocy on this blog knows no end..."

      Then why do you bother? The only idiocy i see is yours. This is Mike's blog, and as such is his opinions, and in some cases, his interpretation of the facts. If you don't like it, then don't participate. It really is that easy.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Jeremy7600 (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 6:50am

    Yes, you see, there's a button named report on every post. It allows the community to flag messages. After a certain threshold, they are hidden. What you already learned for yourself is that anyone can see these hidden messages by clicking on them. This is apparent since you copy and pasted them. Or did you not realize that everyone, not just you, can make that choice?

    The internet is a vast frontier, don't get worked up over nothin, pal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Jeremy7600 (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 6:52am

    Holy crap, delete excess messages, please? My comment was only meant to appear once but my phone got all wonky.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 8:01am

    It is frustrating to understand the basic issues associated with articles here when links are provided to sites that do not explore as issue is any detail.

    Seems to me what is relevant is what what does the legislation in Wisconsin actually say? I snooped around the internet and found very general references that the pupose of the legislation is to prevent "big guys" from buying up wholesalers, something that has been done in the past in other states...and to the detriment of other brands as brand owned distributors are many times inclined to only handle the brand of their owners.

    Again, this is just internet hearsay, but at least it is a start peeling back the layers of the onion that make up the basis for what it appears is being done in Wisconsin.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Pips, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 8:03am

    Wisconsin

    The problem is, the Republicans posting here will defend anything Walker and his Socialist agenda has been pushing to the bitter end. This is how politics in Wisconsin has gone since Walker and his Socialist ideals have taken over. He is literally grabbing entire industries by the ears and controlling them wholesale. Every small brewer in the state is poised to leave town and set up shop somewhere else where they can enjoy freedoms of running their business their way. It is truly sad how much business destruction has come to Wisconsin since Walker was elected governor.

     

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  •  
    icon
    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 10:03am

    Attack the Messenger!

    Mike, I think you did a public service by blogging this. Sure, you may have been misled by your source (though experience suggests you try to prevent this), and attacking you because they don't like the message is grossly unjust.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 10:48am

    Updated

    I just updated it again, thanks to Karl's excellent comment here, which suggests that the angry obnoxious guy calling me a fraud might not be telling the full story either:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110619/23410614742/giant-breweries-get-laws-passed-wis consin-to-make-life-hard-small-breweries.shtml#c386

    Unfortunately, Karl's comment originally got caught in the spam filter, so you might have missed it.

     

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  •  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:20am

    hmm

    Masnick's recent self-immolation has been a true pleasure to observe

    That sounds very like someone has been waiting for Mike to do something bad...desperately hoping and praying for months/years...and touching himself all the while in a way that would make the baby jesus cry :)

    Also why the HELL should small brewers be forced to sell their goods through ANYONE in a way not of their choosing?
    Land of the FREE?????
    Brewers should be able (if they want) to sell their beers naked whilst doing handstands singing "I'm just a girl who can't say no"....as long as they aren't doing it in front of the underage.

     

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  •  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Masnick's recent self-immolation has been a true pleasure to observe

    lets break that down for the AC:

    we assume (for the sake of example only) that Mike HAS "self-immolated" (either through spontaneous human combustion or posting something with errors).

    Why would you derive PLEASURE from someone elses misfortune/mistakes?
    what kind of terrible human being are you?

    I'd like if it the AC actually answered the question. No jokes here, just a genuine request because I'd like to know what nightmares your soul must contain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Onnala (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:28am

    Microbrews...

    We have a very different system here in Oregon for everything but distilled. It is because of the lax laws here we have a fantastic economy built up around our small brewpubs. It has also pushed many of the small breweries here into mainstream competition with the big national brewers. People don't drink Bud Light... they drink Widmer or Bridgeport brews.

    Perhaps the new laws being pushed in places like Wisconsin are because of the example of how local brewpubs can take over a local market like in Portland Oregon and Boston.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    ShellMG, Jun 21st, 2011 @ 11:50am

    We have the same nonsensical system here in MI.From Michigan Capitol Confidential (http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/15196):
    Poorly understood and virtually unknown to the general public, the three-tier system for the most part requires strict legal separation between those who produce beer or wine (the first tier), the restaurants and stores that sell it (third tier) and the wholesale distributors that move it between the two (second tier). With only minor exceptions, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission will not allow any business active in one tier to be involved in either of the other two.

    The practical effect is the creation of a government-mandated middleman in the second tier: the wholesalers or distributors. Beer makers can't sell their product directly to large discount stores such as Costco, or even to tiny mom & pop grocery stores. They must go through a state-approved beer wholesaler.
    I'm not sure if this is the case with hard liquor.
    As the MLive profile made clear, Michigan is one of 20 states that will not even allow a modest “self-distribution” policy, thus creating the perverse result that a small brewery in a small town wishing to sell a locally made product to local restaurants and stores cannot simply take it there: They must ring up their one and only government-approved distributor, whose trucks and warehouses may be nowhere near the town where the brewery and restaurant exist.
    The feds act, the states react.

     

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  •  
    icon
    hmm (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:00pm

    the simpler explanation

    Someone in government took a bribe.

    How I WISH I could travel back in time and copyright taking bribes to abuse copyright and distribution law......

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Jesse (profile), Jun 21st, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    Scott Walker

    "And by small business I mean whoever pays me the most."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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