Friends & Fans,
We did not start Raised Grain with the intent of getting involved in politics. However, we feel that our hand is being forced by the threat of a last minute amendment to this year's State Budget Bill that would jeopardize the very existence of our brewery. Please read below and reach out to your State Representative and urge them to support the craft brewing business in Wisconsin.
The proposed language would "more strictly define" the three-tier system, which consists of manufacturers (breweries big and small), wholesalers/distributors, and retailers (bars/restaurants/liquor stores). If this were to unfold, we could lose our right to self-distribute and our right to have a taproom. Without these avenues, we are unable to build our brand as we choose to.
More importantly, we wouldn't be able to afford the sizable investments we have made in a new building, a shiny new brewhouse, new fermenters, a new canning line and all the other brewery equipment we will be purchasing. We'd close in under a month without taproom revenue.
Raised Grain would be gone. It's that simple.
We are not unique in this situation. There are many other small start-up breweries in Wisconsin that would face the same fate. Probably some mid-to-large craft breweries, too.
The outlook for Wisconsin would be bleak. The trend for craft beer is "local, local, local." If Wisconsin were to lose many of its 140 craft breweries, this would affect so many industries, including tourism (which is partially driven by craft breweries), as well as bars and restaurants that would not have any local beer options to serve.
As we near two years of operations, we have developed strong relationships with nearly 100 bars, restaurants and liquor stores (and counting). We support their growth by supplying them with exciting (fresh) beer choices that help their businesses grow and attract new customers.
We donated over $6,000 worth of goods and services to local charities in our first year of operation. We are on track to double that this year. Again, we are not unique in this regard. Craft breweries play very active roles within their local communities.
Please take the time to voice your opposition to any last-minute amendments to this year's Budget Bill that would so negatively impact Raised Grain, other craft breweries, you as craft beer fans, and the great State of Wisconsin. You can find your State Senator and Representative information on the State of Wisconsin website.
- Raised Grain Brewing Co.
UPDATE, 6/26/17 4:30pm: We've received a tremendous amount of support from you, our fans and supporters. Many of you have requested a form letter that you can share with your State Representatives. Below is a draft that you can use:
I urge you to oppose any last minute amendments to this year’s Budget Bill that would change Chapter 125 of the Wisconsin State Code.
Any changes, if they make it into the Budget Bill, were drafted without consulting key stakeholders, including craft breweries, craft distilleries and craft wineries.
The changes as they are proposed could have dramatic and negative impacts on many of these small businesses, and may in fact put some of these small businesses out of business altogether.
Craft beverage makers in Wisconsin provide many positive benefits: jobs, innovation, tourism dollars, to name a few. They also work closely with their local retailers and partner with wholesalers to bring their product to market.
Instead, we encourage you to invite all parties to the table--manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers--to make meaningful corrections to Chapter 125 that are equitable to and agreed upon by all parties, in a process that is done in open and public debate.