The Tavern League of Wisconsin supports Assembly Bill 364 authored by Representative Dan Knodl. Assembly Bill 364 was introduced to assist retailers who are having a difficult time receiving product from wholesalers. Under the bill, a retailer who purchases 15 cases of beer or less in one month, or 48 liters or more of intoxicating liquor, from another retailer (rather than a wholesaler), is subject to a $100 fine. The bill also deletes the current restrictions that establish when retailers must pay wholesalers for credit, instead allowing for both parties to negotiate the terms of the credit transaction.
Under current law, a licensed retailer is subject to a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment not to exceed 9 months if they purchase alcoholic beverages from someone other than a wholesaler. One exception to this law exists, which specifies that retailers are subject to a fine of not more than $100 if they purchase not more than 12 liters of intoxicating liquor in a month. This exception was created to assist retailers who run out of a product between wholesaler visits, or are having difficulty purchasing a specific product from a wholesaler. AB 364 increases the threshold for intoxicating liquor, and establishes one for beer. The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as worker shortages, have reduced wholesaler service to retailers, leaving many to run out of popular brands and unable to resupply them.
Current law also establishes credit restrictions on retailers, prescribing specific deadlines on when credit must be paid, otherwise they lose their ability to purchase from a wholesaler as well as renew their license with a municipality. The current thresholds are 15 days for beer and 30 days for intoxicating liquor. AB 364 removes these thresholds, and allows retailers and wholesalers to negotiate the terms of their deal.