JTI Special Correspondent Clint Teeters has looked further into this matter and has filed this report:
"I emailed the mayor and asked why the fundraiser was stopped at DP Wigley. City Administrator Tom Friedel replied:
Thank you for communicating with the city on this matter. The mayor asked me to respond on his behalf. In a separate email, I have contacted Mark Flynn of D. P. Wigley
Last Friday the City Clerk’s office received an anonymous report (with a flyer) that the Belle City Homebrewers were planning to offer free beer samples at D.P. Wigley during the First Friday event. We corresponded with the owners of the business, citing state statute 125.06, concerning home brewing.
125.06 License and permit exceptions. No license or permit is required under this chapter for:
(3) Homemade wine or fermented malt beverages.
The manufacture of wine or fermented malt beverages of any alcoholic content by any person at his or her home, farm or place of residence if the wine or fermented malt beverages is to be consumed by that person or his or her family and guests, and if the person manufacturing the wine or fermented malt beverages receives no compensation.
The key words here are, “to be consumed at his or her home, farm or place of residence”. Clearly the D.P. Wigley site does not fall under any of those categories for exception. We felt it was our obligation to inform the owners that a complaint was made and remind them of the law.
Mr. Flynn responded that we were making an incorrect interpretation of the law, so we contacted the state commerce department asking for advice on this particular situation. They responded that there were two additional statutes that governed this situation.
125.09 prohibits consumption in public places and 125.315 prohibits commercially giving it away. Unlicensed business cannot do either.
The statutes cited are state laws, not city policies. The city did not close down the event, but made the owners aware of the state law, so that if they were confronted by an officer attempting to enforce the law, they would not be surprised. When the city receives complaints from citizens it has an obligation to respond. We regret that this situation caused the Belle City Homebrewers to cancel their worthwhile event and that our call to them was given on short notice, but those circumstances were beyond our control.
In an effort to find a solution to what happened last Friday and for the Great Lakes Brewfest, we suggest that the club contact an elected state representative to ask for a change in the statutes that would accommodate events that clubs like yours would like to hold. Statute 125.51(10) allows for temporary licensing and could be modified to include home brewing clubs. The city would be happy to work with your organization to advance changes in this statute.
If you would like to discuss this further, please contact me directly,
730 Washington Ave.
Racine, WI 53403
"Yours truly, Clint Teeters."
Thank you JTI Special Correspondent Clint Teeters for your exhaustive investigation and extensive research into this story.
"125.09 prohibits consumption in public places" Does this mean the end of the 4th of July as we know it?