Beer battle leaves brewers foaming - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Beer battle leaves brewers foaming


WAUSAU, WI (WAOW)--  Bull Falls Brewery has been operating for years.  Growing 10% each year, and up until now they have never had a problem.  But provisions in the budget are changing business for the Zamzow family.

Gov. Scott Walker's controversial bill has made many changes in the state of Wisconsin. But one, has small brewery owners talking.  Don Zamzow, co-owner of Bull Falls Brewery in Wausau says that they are taking away wholesale licensing and turning them into state permits.

The licensing change means growth and distribution of craft beer will be hindered.

Brewers I talked with wonder why it's even an issue in the budget.  Mike Zamzow, co-owner of Bull Falls Brewery thinks its place in new state budget it wrong.

"It's not supposed to be there. They should have all parties sit down at a table and talk about it and that didn't happen," Zamzow explains.

Along with Bull Falls Brewery, others across the state are worried. They say their grip on their growing businesses are dwindling. 

"We will have no control of how our beer is distributed because they are representing the big breweries," Zamzow explains.

For example--instead of a shelf full of Bull Falls beer in local liquor stores, there might only be half a shelf.  The other part taken up by bigger distributors such as Budweiser or Miller Coors products. 

"The power has switched," Mike Zamzow tells us. "It's about power and value and that is now diminished."

But they aren't going down without a fight.  Plans to expand Bull Falls are in the works. The Zamzow family says they aren't going to let this get them down.

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