Wisconsin’s War on Craft Brewers

Wisconsin legislators wrote a provision into the state’s budget legislation barring brewers from owning wholesale distributors.  The measure is allegedly intended to prevent Anheuser-Busch from purchasing distributors and expanding its presence within the state . (Wisconsin is MillerCoors territory.)  But while focused on Budweiser, the restriction threatens some of the state’s craft brewers and would limit their ability to market their own beers. Perhaps that’s really the point.

(HT: zuch)

ADDENDUM: It’s interesting what different types see in this story.  For the free market folks at CEI this is just another example of corporate rent seeking to the advantage of larger corporations.  For the folks at Think Progress, on the other hand, this is yet the latest example of Gov. Scott Walker’s craven catering to campaign contributors — even though not a single source Think Progress cites links the governor to this proposal.  To the contrary, several of the stories mention this provision was slipped in by a legislative committee, and only one of the stories even mentions Gov. Walker by name — and only then to refer generally to the governor’s budget.  Gov. Walker may well support this measure — and, if so, shame on him — but I see no evidence of that — certainly nothing to justify blaming him for the “war on craft beer.”

UPDATE: In Ohio, I’m happy to report, the law may be moving in a better direction.  With luck, I’ll soon be able to buy such fine brews as this at a local establishment.

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