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Tavern League of Wisconsin

Founded in 1935, the Tavern League of Wisconsin is the largest trade association in the United States to exclusively represent the interests of licensed beverage retailers. The Wisconsin Tavern League Foundation, the 501c3 non-profit charitable arm of the organization, provides financial support for thousands of Wisconsin charities, as well as the Tavern League’s SafeRide program.

Mark Your Calendar


New Alcohol provisions to go into effect May 1, 2024


Reduces Penalty for Retailer-to Retailer Beer Purchases

  • The bill lowers the penalty from a felony to a civil forfeiture not to exceed $100 for a tavern to purchase 15 cases of beer a month from a liquor store without going through a wholesaler.  A similar provision currently exists in state law for the purchase of up to 12 liters of booze a month.

Creates Uniform Closing Hours for Retailers and Producers

  • The bill requires all breweries to have the same closing times as Class B licensed establishments.

Increases SafeRide Funding

  • The bill will increase the OWI surcharge for the TLW SafeRide Program by 33%.  In addition the bill will expand the use of the SafeRide Program to all license holders in Wisconsin for a 6 month period.  The TLW will coordinate with non-members to use our SafeRide Program and we will solicit them to join the TLW to have permanent use of SafeRide as well as all TLW programs.  This change represents a great opportunity to recruit new TLW members.

Requires SafeRide Program Notification upon License Issuance

  • The new law requires municipalities to provide information regarding a free six month participation in the TLW SafeRide Program every time a liquor/beer license is issued.  This change will introduce the TLW and our SafeRide Program to every applicant for a liquor license in Wisconsin.  This change will present the opportunity to increase membership in the TLW as well as our SafeRide Program.

Allows Recapping Bottles of Wine

  • The bill allows an opened, unfinished bottle of wine to be removed from the restaurant if, among the other requirements, it is recapped with the original cap, rather than recorked.

Clarifies Axe Throwing Facility Licensing

  • The bill permits a retail license to be issued for an axe throwing facility and allow an underage person to be on the premises.


Expands Brewery Winery and Distillery Retail Sales / Full Service Taprooms


Creates Statutory Framework for Contract Production


Expands Small Winery Cooperative Wholesaler Permit to Include Distilled Spirits


Clarifies Hard Seltzers as Fermented Malt Beverages


Doubles Brewpub Production and Self-Distribution Caps


Removes Cap on Number of Production Permits for Intoxicating Liquor


Creates Wine Only Bars / Remove Certain Class C Wine License Restrictions


Increases the Number of Manufacturer’s Permits per Legal Entity


Standardizes Hours of Operation for Nonretail Activity


Allows Producers to Bring Alcohol Beverages to Licensed Retailers to Provide Free Samples


Allows Brewpubs to Satisfy Permit Requirement Through Sale of Beer from Another Brewpub


Expands Availability of Winery Permits to Manufacturers and Rectifiers


Allows Premixing of Cocktails by Class B License Holders


Clarifies Taxation of Alcohol Sales Between Producers


Allows Wineries to Sell Wine to Other Producers


Following Provisions Effective December 8, 2023


Extends Closing Hours during Republican National Convention

  • The bill creates a closing hour exception, during a 2024 national political convention in Milwaukee, for Class “B,” “Class B,” and “Class C” licensed retailers, and for producers' full-service retail outlets and production premises, located in Kenosha, Racine, Walworth, Rock, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Jefferson, Dane, Ozaukee, Washington, Dodge, Columbia, Sheboygan, or Fond du Lac County. Under the bill, during the convention period, the closing hours are between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.  However, a municipality may designate a retailer or producer as ineligible or disqualified for the extended closing hour and may, by ordinance, opt out of the extended closing hour during the convention.


Creates Division of Alcohol Beverages

  • Creates the Division of Alcohol Beverages (division) attached to the enforcement functions to the division.


Following Provisions Effective January 1, 2024


Modifies Cross-Tier Restrictions to Allow Incidental and Indirect Interests


Following Provisions Effective January 1, 2025


Creates Statewide Alcohol Beverage Seller/Server License

  • Under provisions of the bill the Department of Revenue will create an operator’s license which can be acquired through the DOR website and will be permitted for use statewide.  Local governments can still issue an operator’s license but this change will provide much more flexibility to employers and bartenders to quickly obtain a license from the DOR which can be used statewide.

Expands Small Winery Cooperative Wholesaler Permit to Include Distilled Spirits


Imposes Common Carrier and Fulfillment House Requirements


Following Provisions Effective January 1, 2026


Creates Public Place and Event Venue Regulations

  • Requires wedding barns and event venues to obtain the proper alcohol license in order to operate. All wedding barns and event venues will now be required to have a liquor license to hold events.  That provision of the bill has a delayed effective date of 24 months.  Wedding barns and event venues will be required to purchase all alcohol through a licensed wholesaler and no longer allow people to bring in their own alcohol.

Upcoming Events


Tavern League of Wisconsin partners with Hogs For Heroes to purchase bike for war veteran from Neenah

August 22, 2022

August 28, 2022 – This week, Army National Guard Veteran, Master Sergeant Jake Spangenberg of Neenah becomes the ninth Wisconsin…

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May is National Tavern Month

May 9, 2022

Celebrating the social and economic impact of Wisconsin’s bars, taverns and restaurants The Tavern League of Wisconsin (TLW), along with…

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Gov. Evers Signs AB 717 to assist Wisconsin restaurants in COVID recovery

March 11, 2022

One of the bills TLW Members lobbied on at Legislative Day was AB 717 relating to state tax exemption from…

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