Big day in Madison yesterday, at least for proponents and opponents of WI Bill 287 which proposes to raise the state beer tax on the producers from $2/barrel to $10/barrel. Yowza! A 400% increase before the product reaches the consumer. Imagine with the distributors and retailers taking their necessary mark-ups how much that will end up costing the responsible consumer. Why raise the tax? Well, it hasn’t been raised in 40 years and the income will be a good revenue source for increased law enforcement and substance abuse programs. Or so the proponents’ logic goes. Those in the industry arguing against this hike don’t disagree that substance abuse and drunk driving are bad things. However, many Wisconsin breweries and retailers, especially smaller businesses, realize the multiplier effect of this tax on the consumer and the cost of beer shipped out of state – which will now be doubly taxed, first in Wisconsin then in the state where it’s going – and remain concerned that such a drastic increase in the tax will put Wisconsin produced beers at a competitive disadvantage. As proposed, WI Assembly Bill 287 will result in numerous negative impacts including more Wisconsin-based job losses. To learn more, check out this article in the Isthmus: http://www.isthmus.com/daily/article.php?article=27156, and www.jsonline.com.
Jason Wilde kicks of the 2nd annual Football and Sprecher Beer mini-camp tomorrow evening at 6:00pm. If anyone has the inside scoop, it’s Packers beat reporter and WKLH personality, Jason Wilde. Cost: $15. A portion of the proceeds goes to Milwaukee Achiever Literacy Services.
Other Speakers: NFL and Big Ten Referee Bill Carollo (8/26), TBA (9/2), and Grilling expert Lucy Saunders (9/9).
Mini-Camp takes place at Sprecher Brewing Company, 701 W. Glendale Ave, Glendale, WI.
Learn more and pre-register at: www.sprecherbrewery.com.
Fun! Fun! Fun at the Fair yesterday. It was officially Sprecher Day. So what happened? Twenty-five people grilled their best recipe; amid stiff competition, the top three really deserved their awards. And the grand prize winner – a filet with duxelle sauce – well, it is a winner. Stay tuned, we’ll have the recipes on the website very soon.
Kids loved the games, the partner business coupons on our wall of coupons disappeared quickly (don’t worry; they’ll reappear on our website), many people had their photo taken with Rooty or the Sprecher Race Car, and the weather was great so the mood was right for perhaps the most popular event on the Central Mall — the Sheboygan brat eating contest. Crowds cheered as 15 people tried to outdo each other. Our winner ate a total of 8 brats, or 2lbs worth! Only in Wisconsin? I wonder. This guy could go on to become a national champion.
August 10th is Sprecher Day & WKLH at State Fair! Meet folks from Sprecher, WKLH. Rooty, Race Car Driver Lyle Nowak and many more will be on hand during the fun and games on the Central Mall. Kids will have a blast! Brewing demonstration by the Wisconsin Brewers Guild. Visit the Wall of Coupons, watch as the Grilling with Beer contestants cook their best recipes, and put your name in for the Sheboygan Brat Eating Contest. The winner gets his/her name on a keg trophy. Visit www.sprecherbrewery.com for more details, admission discount coupons and more.
Check out the Thursday Trivia Night at the Highland House, 12741 N. Port Washington Rd., Mequon, WI. You may learn some fun facts you didn’t know; whether you can remember them is the real challenge.
No kidding! On Saturday President Obama stopped by The Dairy Godmother in Fairfax, Virginia with daughters Malia and Sasha and his requisite cadre of bodyguards. Owned by Waukesha native Liz Davis, the store sells frozen custard and other wonderful things from Wisconsin, including Sprecher Root Beer. According to an article in the Milwaukee Journal today (www.jsonline.com), while the president and his daughters indulged in frozen custard “Obama’s personal aide Reggie Love bought a four pack of Sprecher Root Beer.”
Join us at the brewery on Sunday when we’ll have one of our famous summer tailgate parties. Enjoy some grilled sausages and dogs, play some bung hole toss, take a tour, sip some great beer and soda, and enter to win prizes. Doors open at 11am. Sprecher Brewery is located at 701 W. Glendale Ave, Glendale, WI, just north of the city of Milwaukee.
Is Sprecher Brewing Company, along with members of the Wisconsin brewing industry, the Wisconsin Grocers Association, the Tavern League – which represents 5,000 bars and liquor stores – right to oppose the current beer tax increase propsal now in the legislature?
Wisconsin will have a $6.6 billion budget shortfall this year so to some in the legislature it makes sense that they raise taxes and cut services wherever possible, even though people are losing jobs, businesses and homes. Theoretically, increased tax revenue along with cuts in public spending will result in a decreased budget shortfall and all will be well. But generating operating revenue by increasing taxes at a time when people’s incomes are diminishing seems chimerical, a reactive grasping at straws more than anything. Be that as it may, doing something is far better than doing nothing. Best if it’s the right something.
Rep. Terese Berceau and Sen. Fred Risser, both Madison Democrats, proposed a beer tax increase from $2 to $10 per barrel to help fight drunken driving and treat alcohol addiction and mental illness. The beer tax has not been raised since 1969 and is currently the 3rd lowest in the nation. According to a May 15 article in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Berceau said her plan would raise tax on a 6-pack from 3.6 cents to 18 cents. Overall, it would cost beer drinkers $40 million to $48 million.” Sounds like a lot of money for worthwhile programs, but one must question whether Rep. Berceau’s estimate of the cost to the consumer is accurate.
In other words, if the barrel tax begins at the breweries, the multiplier effect will kick in and an additional fee will be added at each stop along the way (distributor, retailer) so the final cost to the consumer ends up being significantly higher. Potentially, this means more tax revenue and more funds for worthwhile programs all things being equal. But all things are not equal at present. We’ve gone from an economy where a significant majority of the population felt flush to one where a significant majority is counting every dollar and saving rather than spending. The net effect is less consumers and higher unemployment, evidenced by the recent waves of layoffs as well as stores, restaurants and bars closing due to lack of business.
Personally, I question whether now is the right time to raise the beer tax. What do you think?
Shop local and keep $0.68 of every dollar spent in the local economy. Our Milwaukee, an alliance of locally owned businesses that collaborate and celebrate the diversity of local enterprise, is hosting a Buy Local Week, May 18-24. Nearly 30businesses that belong to Our Milwaukee are offering discounts on their products. Sprecher is one of those businesses, and you can get $1 off tours on Friday or Saturday, May 22 and 23. Others include Outpost, Beans and Barley, the Pabst Theatre, Cafe Hollender, Spring City Flowers, Alterra, Murry Hill Pottery Works. Stop, shop and support locally-owned businesses. In the meantime, learn more about special offers during this week by visiting Our Milwaukee at: http://ourmilwaukee.net.
Randy and I have been traveling a bit recently. First to Maui for vacation, then I headed to Chicago for a fabulous Sprecher Sodapalooza dinner at Graham Elliot restaurant on April 30th. In Maui we stayed with friends so got a nice insider’s view of the island; well, insider’s view for tourists. Cooler and rainier than normal, the weather didn’t prevent us from enjoying beaches and the many microclimates of the island. Randy had a great time body surfing at Little Beach in the Wailea area. Unlike neighboring Big Beach, Little Beach is a nude beach. If you’re thinking of going to Maui, now’s a great time. Hotel and airfare prices are dropping fast, especially this month.
Chicago — what a great town! And Graham Elliot restaurant is just as wonderful. The dishes Chef Bowles comes up with invoke awe. On the current menu you’ll find a Spring Pea Bisque, fresh as can be. But this is not just any spring pea bisque as Graham Elliot’s version contains pink peppercorns, creme fraiche, pea tendrils and a homemade lavender marshmallow! Surprised? Try it. The marshmallow melts while you eat the soup, creating a brilliant combination of sweet and savory.
Sprecher Soda Palooza dinner — the second special dinner Graham Elliot has done (btw: this restaurant will celebrate its 1st anniversary in June) — Fab-O! First course: lobster with ginger ale; Second Course: halibut with orange dream; Third Course: pork tenderloin w/ fried pickle, grits and cole slaw with root beer; Dessert: popcorn gelato (for real!) homemade milk duds, homemade peanut butter cups with puma kola sipped through a straw of red vine licorice. Chef Bowles and his team incorporated each soda as an ingredient in the dish, then served it as a pairing beverage. They truly took Sprecher soda to a new level.
If you get a chance, visit Graham Elliot, 217 W. Huron St. In addition to fabulous food, they have great cocktails and a really friendly staff.
American Craft Beer Week, May 11th – 17th. Celebrate with us. We’re offering special $1 tours. Call the Sprecher Gift Shop: 414.964.2739 for reservations. For more details about what craft breweries around the country are doing, visit the Brewers Association website, beertown.org.