April 3, 2011

City Shuts Down Racine Home Brew Club

We've heard reports over the weekend of a city bust at DP Wigley in Racine. The gist seems to be the Health Department shut down the Belle City Brew Club for drinking home-brewed beer at the store. Apparently state laws says you can only drink home-brewed beer in the home of the person who brewed it.

It seems DP Wigley got in trouble because they were giving away beer in the store, presumably without a liquor license. The Saturday event was a fundraiser for the Racine Urban Garden Network.

More on this as it comes together, including what it means for the local home brew club and for DP Wigley, which sells brewing supplies through its store, Hop To It.


Get more Post! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Want to advertise? Learn how!

13 comments:

  1. So the city is now at risk of losing millions of dollars in revenue. Brew Fest in Downtown Racine is in jeopardy. Hotels will lose much needed revenue, Restaurants that are filled during Brew Fest.... History. Any wine tasting Events in Commercial buildings.... GONE. How to Brew and Make wine classes at DP Wigley .... GONE

    Hosting a Fourth of July party at your commercial establishment (Or any party for that matter) and do not have a liquor license? Better not serve beer or wine, it would be a $10,0000.00 Fine.

    Way to go Racine! Another ANTI Business move that just continues to destroy this city. When I asked the mayor about this on his Facebook Page... he deleted it... No response.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a joke.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "It seems DP Wigley got in trouble because they were giving away beer in the store, presumably without a liquor license."

    Ugh, you don't need a liquor license to GIVE away liquor, including homebrew. Sheesh! While I don't belong to the club, I have brewed my own back in the dark ages of the '80's. I just wish there was this kind of support group back then. Where is the crime? That some dudes and dudetts were enjoying life on private property? I'm thinking the Racine police department ought to re-assign some of their "vice" crew to the folks that create a real visible nuisance - like the juvenile dorks, dopers and gangbangers that graffiti property throughout the city, including my own.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It was the City Health Department reacting to a complaint, not the PD. There was no "Bust" just a warning to stop what they were doing. RAPD would have had no clue about this as their liquor inspection program for licensed businesses is uninformed and severely lacking in enforcement. I only hope that a resolution can be worked out so that another hard working buisness that is an asset to the community is not driven to it's knees and crawls out of town. Flynns are great people and so worthy of our support. If you haven't been there yet, take a few minutes to explore their great historic building and endless variety of goods for sale.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There was no bust, but rather an email a few hours before First Friday to begin that we could not give away home-brew. The store was not giving it away, it was instead a fundraising function of the Belle City Home Brewers and Vintners for the benefit of the Racine Urban Garden Network. The club, registered with the state at this address, maintains their clubhouse at our store, the only homebrew store in the county. It is illegal for businesses without a liquor license to give away alcohol, which is clear in the statutes, and which all the boutiques & galleries do anyway along 6th and Main. It is our belief it is not illegal for a nonprofit club to do so. The city maintains it is illegal to possess homebrew anywhere but home, and maintains that possession of homebrew anywhere but home punishable by a $10000 fine. This all began by DPW's letter of support for Homebrew at Great Lakes Brewfest, an event that brings tens of thousands of dollars into the community and which is now in danger of leaving town or disappearing altogether, which could lead to the demise of the Racine Kilties, since this is their major funding source.
    The city has since said they will help us change the statute for the homebrewers, but I still do not know what effect this will have on Great Lakes Brew Fest.

    ReplyDelete
  6. How will this action lead to the demise of the Great Lakes Brew Fest?

    ReplyDelete
  7. City has said no homebrew is allowed at Brewfest, they interpret the law as it can only be consumed at the home where it is brewed. Homebrew Island is many attendees favorite part of GLBF. It will not be part of the event this year, and attendance could suffer because of its removal. Kilties are seeking alternative sites, out of Racine, that would still allow homebrew to be served. At this time, given other homebrew events taking place this year elsewhere, that is preety much anywhere but Racine. The Schooner HomeBrew contest, the Midwest's largest, which we have hosted the last 5 years, has already decided to move out of Racine this year.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Don't you think attendance may suffer more if they moved the event out of Racine? Why would a Racine-based group have a fundraiser outside of Racine?

    I enjoy the "Homebrew Island" as much as much as other people, but removing it isn't going to stop me from attending the GLBF. I find it hard to believe that thousands of people will stop going to this event simply becuase there isn't a "homebrew" station.

    How long has the "Homebrew Island" been a part of GLBF? Isn't that a relatively new addition to the event?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Silly Wabbit! DP Wigley, Hop To It, and The Brew Club did NOT get busted or shut down - just a warning, the result of a misinterpreted Statute. It will be fixed at the State level. Hopefully, and probably, before the Legislative Session ends in September. Some of the current laws regarding alcoholic beverages were written before Prohibition in the 1930's.

    It's just time for an upgrade, that's all, and that process has begun here. It's already been addressed and modernized recently in Oregon, Louisiana, Ohio, and Washington.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Homebrew Island, is simply a new name for the upgraded site where the homebrewers craft is showcased. I believe that homebrew has been served by the brewers at their section since the begining of GLBF. The purpose is to promote the hobby and demonstrate the quality and variety of beers, meads, ciders and wines that can be brewed at home. As GLBF has gained popularity, so has the homebrew section, and homebrewer were relocated to accomodate the increased participation. Homebrew clubs from all over the midwest now participate. People will still come to GLBF without the homebrew, but why would you want to offer less to those who come and not more. The homebrew aspect gives GLBF a local flavor and "craft fair/ farmers marke" atmosphere which would be sorely missed. Perhaps if GLBF only offered Bud, Miller and Coors products, and Recorded music, some people would still come, but we don't want to make it less fun, we want it to be more fun year to year! I sincerely hope that this is only a bump in the road. Or... maybe Kenosha's lake front is the place to be, that would be OK with me... closer to home, but a shame for Racine, for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Interesting cross-reference:

    http://journaltimes.com/news/local/article_0fead064-6327-11e0-a130-001cc4c002e0.html

    ReplyDelete
  12. Funnier thing is, DP Wigley backed Dickert in the election, and he just really seemed not to give a damn. Along with his not returning calls to Dino, another long-running business in Racine, should really tell you something about Lying John.

    ReplyDelete