Monday, October 26, 2009

Beat to the Brewpub Bill

After a year and ten months of working full-time to open a brewpub, I'm a little jealous that the owners of Vintage were able to snap their fingers and start renovating the old J.T. Whitney's building. It's not a vindictive jealousy, though - I wish them the best and plan on checking the place out once it opens. I'll also say "you're welcome" for turning down a venture capitalist who wanted to do the same thing back in April (I'm friends with the Whitney's folks and didn't want to prevent them from renegotiating their lease).

What's interesting to me is finding out how Wisconsin's ill-conceived brewpub law will apply to them. From what I can gather, a brewpub owner can't own - directly or indirectly - any non-brewpub establishments with Class B liquor licenses. I don't think a restaurant actually has to brew beer to be a brewpub, though, so the Vintage owners could probably just apply for a second brewpub permit to cover their downtown location. If a brewing operation does need to exist, a "brewpub group" probably only needs to brew at one location (see this Department of Revenue form). I'm sort of glad that RePublic won't be setting the precedent on how the law is enforced.

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