Proposed legislation to allow growler stations in grocery stores

Enterprise Staff

Oct. 15, 2015

WAUKESHA — New legislation proposed in the state Senate would allow class A liquor license holders to sell and fill growlers to the general public on location.

Growlers are containers, often in 32 or 64 ounces, used to hold draft beer. Grocery stores are among the several class A licensees that would be eligible for the growler stations.

Senators Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield; Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green; Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville; Roger Roth, R-Appleton; Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville; and Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa, introduced the bill on Sept. 30. After a first reading the bill was referred to Committee on Public Benefit and Regulatory Reform.

Kyle Koenen, an aide for Kapenga, said the senator is backing the bill because of the free market principles associated with it.

“It offers consumers a choice and with the growth in craft beer across the country,” Koenen said. “It’s something that people want.”

Koenen said if the legislation passes, it’ll allow smaller craft breweries access to a greater number of customers across the state. He added the bill has the support of several grocers and there are several stores with class B licenses already featuring growler stations.

Allen Leofilos, co-owner of Hops and Leisure, a restaurant and brew house featuring growlers in Oconomowoc, supports the bill.

“I think it can only help the craft market,” Leofilos said. “The more consumers and the more people that are consuming craft beer, the better.”

Orey Laev, president of Ray’s Wine and Spirits in Wauwatosa, also supports the bill.

Ray’s features a “growler gallery” above it where customers can fill growlers with one of eight beers on tap.

Laev agreed with Leofilos on the legislation being good for the craft market and offered his support.