Changes to Wisconsin Alcohol Laws Signed by Governor

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Signed into law, Senate Bill 268, among a variety of provisions, creates the Division of Alcohol Beverages (DAB) within the Department of Revenue (DOR) and assign to DAB the authority to regulate and enforce Wisconsin’s alcohol beverages law through two bureaus dedicated to: (1) enforcement and (2) legal services, permitting, and reporting. The law further amends the definition of “fermented malt beverage” (beer) to include any beverage recognized under federal regulations as beer (except sake or similar products) thereby allowing gluten-free beers and hard seltzers that are classified as beer under federal law to also be classified as “beer” under state law and thus to be subject to the state’s lower taxation rate for beer and allowing these products to be manufactured under a brewer’s or brewpub permit; allows producers that meet specified production thresholds to establish between one and three full-service retail outlets and make full-service retail sales from those premises; increases the brewpub manufacturing limit from 10,000 barrels of beer per year to 20,000 and increases a brewpub’s self-distribution limit from 1,000 barrels of beer per year to 2,000; codifies the authority for a brewer, brewpub, winery, manufacturer, or rectifier to produce alcohol beverages by means of contract production, alternating proprietorship, or licensing agreement; and allows a person who made homemade wine or beer in another state to transport up to ten gallons of the wine or beer into Wisconsin for purposes of participating in a competition or exhibition that complies with state law, is held by a national organization, and has participants from more than twenty-five states.

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