The proposed “resort manufacturer permit” in Wisconsin would allow a business to manufacture, bottle, store and sell up to 150,000 gallons of liquor per year on its premises if it meets specific requirements, including at least 300 guest rooms, one spa, food-and-beverage services across five separate restaurants, and 36 holes of golf.
A new type of liquor permit would be created to suit Kohler Co. resorts under a legislative proposal, the Madison, Wis., Cap Times reported.
According to a draft of the bill, the proposal would create a “resort manufacturer permit” allowing a business that meets certain conditions to manufacture, bottle, store and sell up to 150,000 gallons of intoxicating liquor per year on the entity’s premises, the Cap Times reported.
The measure would also allow the “resort manufacturer” to sell beer or intoxicating liquor that it does not produce on its premises without a retail license and sell its spirits to a related business, deemed a “secondary resort facility,” the Cap Times reported.
The creation of a new permit would be an expansion of the state’s three-tier system, a series of laws that regulates how alcoholic beverages are manufactured, distributed and sold in the state. Under current law, those who manufacturer intoxicating liquor must sell it to a wholesaler, which then can sell it to a retailer for the general public to buy, the Cap Times reported.
To be eligible for a “resort manufacturer permit” under the proposal, a business entity would have to be a hospitality or business operation involving multiple entities under the same ownership that includes at least 300 guest rooms and at least one spa, food and beverage services across at least five separate restaurants, and a championship golf course with at least 36 holes, the Cap Times reported.
The bill draft defines a “secondary resort facility” as a separate business located in Wisconsin that is owned by the same “resort manufacturer,” provides lodging or a has a golf course and does business under the same brand, the Cap Times reported.
The parameters of the permit align with Kohler Co.’s resort business, which includes two championship golf courses, a spa and five hotels. In 2016, the company got into the craft spirit business, launching two types of chocolate brandy in partnership with Central Standard Craft Brewery based in Milwaukee. If a bill is filed, clears the Legislature and is signed by Governor Scott Walker, the plan would take effect the first day of the third month beginning after publication, the Cap Times reported.
Kohler Co. has lobbied extensively on distillery-related issues throughout the legislative session. It promoted two bills filed in the fall that would have created a “distillpub” permit, allowing distilleries to make, sell and distribute its spirits. Those bills have not moved out of committees in the Assembly and Senate, the Cap Times reported.
Kohler spent $132,597 and more than 350 hours lobbying on liquor law issues in the first half of the 2017-18 legislative session, according to the Eye on Lobbying database.