Opposition, support for proposed Wisconsin bill to allow the online sale and delivery of alcohol

Lawmakers have introduced several bills in recent weeks aimed at assisting businesses
Zambaldi Beer located in Allouez
Zambaldi Beer located in Allouez(WBAY)
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 5:45 PM CST
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ALLOUEZ, Wis. (WBAY) - A recent bill proposed by Wisconsin lawmakers to help businesses struggling during the pandemic is causing division among state groups.

While it’s still far from any kind of vote, Assembly Bill 71 would allow the online sale and delivery of alcohol. State Representative John Macco, R-Ledgeview, is one of the bills co-sponsors.

David Malcolm opened Zambaldi Beer more than a year ago before the pandemic shut much of the world down.

“We’ll add this bucket,” Malcolm said as he gave a tour of his brewery. He’s in the process of brewing beer. “These are pelletized hops, so the hops themselves look like a little green pine cone.”

Malcolm would sell his beer online if he could, but it’s currently against the law in the state of Wisconsin.

“We’re always looking for all options to sell our beer and all market outlets. If this had been around the beginning of the pandemic, I think it would’ve been a game changer. We definitely had people reaching out, asking if we could deliver,” Malcolm said.

AB71 is hoping to change that and the Wisconsin Grocers Association supports the bill saying it’s the way of the future.

“They can’t leave the home. They don’t want to leave the home. They may be quarantined. They got kids at home. There’s a 100 different reasons why somebody wants to shop online and deliver,” Wisconsin Grocers Association President and Chief Executive Officer Brandon Scholz said. “We think that’s something that they want and we should be able to do that.”

While the proposed bill has its supporters, the Tavern League of Wisconsin strongly opposes this bill saying it could negatively impact small restaurants and bars.

“This helps the big guys. This helps the big grocers, the big liquor stores, the chain restaurants. It doesn’t help our members at all,” Tavern League of Wisconsin President Chris Marsicano said. “Our little taverns can’t afford to put another staff person on just to deliver a 12-pack of beer.”

The TLW also cited safety concerns it has when it comes to minors possibly having easy access to drinking.

As the proposed bill reads, alcohol retailers could make online or phone sales and then deliver it or have a third party do it.

It prohibits selling alcohol to someone who is intoxicated, and the deliverer must verify the purchaser is at least 21 years old by scanning the person’s ID to ensure it is real.

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