Local lawmakers wants to create beer commission

Published 03/07 2014 05:14PM

Updated 03/07 2014 07:05PM

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - Beer in the badger state is an $8 billion a year industry.

"What I'd like to see is the state of Wisconsin become the Napa Valley of the beer industry," said Rep. Gary Tauchen, R-Bonduel.

To help do that, Tauchen is trying to establish a state beer commission, focused on marketing, research and promotion of beer made in Wisconsin.

"Whether it's the distributors, the small breweries, the large breweries, the grocers or whatever," he said. "to work together to try to improve the business climate and create more jobs."

Tauchen said the commission would be run through the Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection, and would not tap in to taxpayer dollars.

"We have actually been tracking it now for several weeks and I think it's a great thing," commented Andrew Fabry, President of Badger State Brewing Company.

A newcomer to the craft beer scene, Badger State Brewing Company opened in the stadium district last December. Fabry sees some major benefits.

"For us," he said. "It's a nice way to get our product out there. But the goal is really give back and promote the economy in Wisconsin. Hopefully people around the entire United States and rest of the world realize how good the beer is in the state."

"There's a heck of an opportunity here for tourism," added Tauchen. "and it's one of those fun products to try."

The measure would also allow the commission to sell Wisconsin brews at the state fair. That's a big deal for smaller breweries because many cannot afford the thousands of dollars in fees currently charged to attend.

The bill is still in it' early stages. Tauchen expects it to be taken up by the legislature sometime next session.

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