Tavern League Newsroom

Response to Governor Evers Statement On Private Events

March 12, 2019

Private Events – No License Required!

Governor Evers has decided to maintain the Walker Administration policy to not require a liquor license for private events. This will provide our members with a variety of business options to enhance and increase the value of their business.

We have long maintained that the policy should treat all businesses equally, either by requiring all to be licensed or none to be licensed. The Evers Administration has chosen to require less licensure of business where alcohol is consumed and in the long run that will provide greater benefit to our members than licensure would.

This ruling will apply to everyone not just those who operate wedding barns. This will provide licensed establishments with an unlicensed premise an opportunity to be a one stop shop and offer private events that do not have to comply with the laws of a licensed business.

The only criteria for hosting a private event is that the event cannot be held on a licensed premise. Simply amend your liquor license to exempt a room or hall from your license. Once that room is not licensed you can offer private events with no regulations. The provision would also apply to a vacant storefront in your community. If you choose to buy an unlicensed vacant business you could operate a private event where alcohol could be consumed.

According to the Department of Revenue a private event cannot directly sell drinks to attendees and the event must be private. The group holding the private event can obtain their alcohol through any means they would like including the business hosting the event. Food may be catered in or obtained through the business hosting the event.

Private Events – No License Required


  • Do not have to obtain municipal alcohol license.
  • DNR private well water testing not required.
  • Not subject to local ordinances other licensed premises are.
  • Are not required to purchase beer wine or liquor through a licensed wholesaler.
  • Are not required to follow the workplace state smoking ban.
  • Do not have to have licensed bartenders.
  • Do not have to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Do not collect and remit state sales and excise taxes.
  • No closing hours apply.
  • Do not have to following fire code safety regulations.
  • Do not have to complete a food safety course.
  • Do not have to pay music royalty fees. 
  • Do not have to follow local ordinances related to licensed establishments.
  • Do not have to follow noise ordinances related to licensed establishments.
  • Do not have to comply with provisions of Chapter 125.


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