Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Positive Legislative Experience

It's been a busy couple of weeks for team RePublic. Between design meetings, filling out applications, meeting city officials, a fast-approaching investor commitment deadline and needing to find a new lender (boo to rejection), I haven't had much time for day-to-day tasks such as sleeping or responding to friends' emails. Yet here I am. It's a good thing that very few of my friends read this weblog.

Yesterday morning, I received a notice about a public hearing about Assembly Bill 67 that was scheduled for this morning. The bill would revoke establishments' liquor licenses if their licensed bartenders or liquor agents are caught three times with blood alcohol levels above 0.0 while working. The bill is bad news for several reasons:

-The beers sold at brewpubs and specialty beer bars are available at very few places. As such, employees need to taste the beer to be able to describe it to customers and make educated recommendations.
-I could lose my liquor license if an employee consumes one drink (or some cold medicine) before coming to work.
-As an owner, I'm always considered "at work". If I can't have a drink at my own pub, what's the point?

So I went down to the capitol and testified against the bill. Thankfully the bill's sponsor, Josh Zepnick, intends to revise the bill to better accomplish its intent: punish irresponsible tavern owners who allow their staff to drink excessively, therefore reducing their ability to reduce over-consumption and prevent intoxicated patrons from driving drunk. In fact, he was surprised by the last-minute call for a public hearing and admitted that the bill wasn't anywhere close to being ready. He hopes to gather a lot more feedback before trying to push anything through.

Thank you, Wisconsin legislature, for proving my cynicism wrong on this occasion.


Jason said...

Cool! Glad to see that talking to a human and that human thinking reasonably was actually a solution for once :)

Brian said...

Good for you Joe. As written it makes little sense and seems open to abuse. Hopefully the revisions will more practically implement the intent of the law. Best of luck with the funding push, how close are you?

Joe said...

I'm not sure how close I am. Here's the breakdown I'm shooting for:

-City funds = 10%
-Investments (including mine and Jane's) = 15%
-Bank loan = 75%

The city funds seem pretty likely, but I won't know for sure until I submit the applications. Investments will be close. If everybody I'm talking with invests the minimum amount, I'll be about $15K higher than I need. That's a big if, though. Basically, my success will come down to whether or not I can find a bank who will lend me money. If I can raise 80% of my total capital goal, I'll be locked into buying the building and will need to make something work.

Brian said...

Well the plan seems reasonable. I know that in current phase of the business cycle getting a bank to invest any amount of money in a venture like a brewery is a challenge. But I guess that without challenges what fun would it be.

When I sat down with my wife to talk to her about what I wanted to do with my own brewery and what It was going to cost, she basically said no. In hindsight it is/was probably a blessing because it burst my bubble and gave me a quick reality check about what to expect moving forward.

Best of luck getting those investment commitments firmed up.