Those coming for a brewery tour and tasting Sunday, December 9, 11am-2pm, will get an extra treat. Not only is Santa visiting for Soda with Santa, authors Lucy Saunders and Kevin Revolinski will be here too!

If you know beer lovers, food lovers, Wisconsin lovers and/or adventurers, bring them to Sprecher for a brewery tour and visit with Lucy Saunders, author of The Best of American Beer and Food, and Kevin Revolinski, author of Wisconsin’s Best Beer Guide. Both authors will sell and sign copies of their books, making them more personal (and perhaps Ebay worthy).

This is a fantastic opportunity to talk with noted cookbook author and beer judge, Lucy Saunders, about her truly delectable cookbook, The Best of American Beer and Food. Neither complicated nor full of hard-to-come-by exotic ingredients, the recipes in this book will leave your friends and family wondering how you became such a skilled chef of deliciousness. Recipes include suggested beer pairings. As an added bonus, Lucy will serve samples of her Black Bavarian Pork Carnitas recipe. BTW: it helps, but you do not have to beer a craft beer lover to enjoy these recipes. (Ask Lucy why the beer is an essential but not dominant ingredient in the recipes.)

Want a book that’s a little more Wisconsin and craft beer-centric? Author Kevin Revolinski (aka The Mad Traveler) will be selling and signing the newly released 2nd edition of Wisconsin’s Best Beer Guide, a travel guide to all the breweries of Wisconsin. The book includes information on over 90 breweries, and other attractions such as beer-related museums, festivals, tours, fish fries, and more. Special offers inside include free beer!

The Best of Wisconsin Beer

Tours are offered on the hour Noon-4pm. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 414.964.2739. Cost: $5 Adult, $4 Senior, $3 Minors. Tour includes commemorative glass and beer samples (21+), and unlimited soda samples for everyone. If you are coming for Soda with Santa, arrive 45 minutes early to make sure you have time for a photo.  Sprecher is located at 701 W. Glendale Ave, Glendale, WI. For more information, visit www.sprecherbrewery.com.

Wisconsin Beer Tax

01st June 2009

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?