Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Get ready to pay more for your booze


Over at RightWisconsin, I report on the resurrection of the Liquor Wars. After all, “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.” Apparently that applies to a man’s ability to keep his liquor cabinet stocked. For those of you who have forgotten what’s at stake,

In Wisconsin, we have a three tier alcohol distribution system that is already protectionist. Producers sell their products to the wholesalers who then provide the booze to the retailers. In addition to making it easier for the state to collect excise taxes on alcohol, the system protects Wisconsin wholesalers because out of state wholesalers are not allowed.

However, sometimes all the players in alcohol pipeline don’t play nicely with each other. In the last round of the liquor wars in 1999, the wholesalers attempted to make their sinecures transferable to their heirs, or to whomever they felt like selling their rights. The liquor producers would be bound by the terms of the contract even though they did not have a prior relationship with the new wholesaler. The producer would be robbed of their limited right to pick the wholesaler with whom they would like to do business.

And now there’s another attempt to sneak it into the budget. A similar law in Illinois caused prices to jump 20%. That’ll put a real damper on your wet bar.

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