Brewing beer has been a Wisconsin tradition since the state was in germination; records of breweries in Wisconsin date back as early as the 1830s, over a decade before the state entered the Union. By the 1890s, there were more than 300 breweries operating in the state. Beer giants such as Blatz, Pabst, Schlitz and Miller later gave Wisconsin national and international renown.
Craft beer's popularity is growing. According to the Brewers Association, an American trade group consisting of over 1,900 brewers, craft beer made up a stout 11% of the overall national beer market in 2014—the first time it has ever reached double digits.
Beer is a heavily regulated industry, and there are many federal and state regulations that can create barriers to entering the craft beer business. For those of you interested in joining this heady market and Wisconsin tradition, Reinhart's upcoming e-alert series on breweries and brewpubs outlines some of the legal hurdles you will have to hop over to set up shop, including:
- brewery licensing;
- brewpub licensing;
- choosing a business structure;
- financing and crowdfunding;
- site selection—purchasing, leasing and zoning considerations;
- food safety regulations;
- product labeling and advertising;
- distribution; and
- environmental compliance.
If you would like to know more about navigating the federal, state and local regulatory agencies' rules and regulations on breweries and brewpubs, please contact your Reinhart attorney or any member of Reinhart's Food and Beverage team.
Stay tuned for the series' first article on brewery licensing.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.