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Focus Area: Coronavirus/COVID-19

Wi DOR Issues Proposed Guidance Regarding the Production, Distribution and Sale of Alcoholic Beverages During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 20, 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue submitted a proposed guidance document to the Legislative Reference Bureau regarding the permissible production, distribution and sale of alcohol beverages during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance proposed by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue is as follows: 

  1. “Carry-out” Sales to Customers: The proposed requirements for “carry-out” sales is summarized in the chart below:

Seller Type

Requirements for “Carry-out” Sales

Brewer

  • Sales must occur in a face-to-face transaction during state or municipality-approved hours (not during required closing hours)
  • Lines for “carry-out” must have an environment where patrons and staff maintain social distancing (six feet away from other people), and establishments must abide by the prohibition on gatherings of 10 people per Department of Health Services order
  • Patrons may only enter the establishment for the purposes of picking up or paying for food or beverages
  • Alcoholic beverages must be sold in original, sealed containers
  • Alcoholic beverages may only be sold where permitted by municipal ordinance
  • Growlers of beer may be sold for “carry-out” only

Manufacturer (distiller)

  • Sales must occur in a face-to-face transaction during state or municipality-approved hours (not during required closing hours)
  • Lines for “carry-out” must have an environment where patrons and staff maintain social distancing (six feet away from other people), and establishments must abide by the prohibition on gatherings of 10 people per Department of Health Services order
  • Patrons may only enter the establishment for the purposes of picking up or paying for food or beverages
  • Alcoholic beverages must be sold in original, sealed containers
  • Alcoholic beverages may only be sold where permitted by municipal ordinance

Rectifier

  • Sales must occur in a face-to-face transaction during state or municipality-approved hours (not during required closing hours)
  • Lines for “carry-out” must have an environment where patrons and staff maintain social distancing (six feet away from other people), and establishments must abide by the prohibition on gatherings of 10 people per Department of Health Services order
  • Patrons may only enter the establishment for the purposes of picking up or paying for food or beverages
  • Alcoholic beverages must be sold in original, sealed containers
  • Alcoholic beverages may only be sold where permitted by municipal ordinance

Class “A” Beer License Holder

  • Sales must occur in a face-to-face transaction during state or municipality-approved hours (not during required closing hours)
  • Lines for “carry-out” must have an environment where patrons and staff maintain social distancing (six feet away from other people), and establishments must abide by the prohibition on gatherings of 10 people per Department of Health Services order
  • Patrons may only enter the establishment for the purposes of picking up or paying for food or beverages, unless the establishment is identified as exempt in an Emergency Order
  • Alcoholic beverages must be sold in original, sealed containers
  • Alcoholic beverages may only be sold where permitted by municipal ordinance
  • Samples of alcoholic beverages may not be offered for consumption on the premises

Class “A” Liquor License Holder

  • Sales must occur in a face-to-face transaction during state or municipality-approved hours (not during required closing hours)
  • Lines for “carry-out” must have an environment where patrons and staff maintain social distancing (six feet away from other people), and establishments must abide by the prohibition on gatherings of 10 people per Department of Health Services order
  • Patrons may only enter the establishment for the purposes of picking up or paying for food or beverages, unless the establishment is identified as exempt in an Emergency Order
  • Alcoholic beverages must be sold in original, sealed containers
  • Alcoholic beverages may only be sold where permitted by municipal ordinance
  • Samples of alcoholic beverages may not be offered for consumption on the premises

Class “B” Beer License Holder

  • Sales must occur in a face-to-face transaction during state or municipality-approved hours (not during required closing hours)
  • Lines for “carry-out” must have an environment where patrons and staff maintain social distancing (six feet away from other people), and establishments must abide by the prohibition on gatherings of 10 people per Department of Health Services order
  • Patrons may only enter the establishment for the purposes of picking up or paying for food or beverages
  • Alcoholic beverages must be sold in original, sealed containers
  • Alcoholic beverages may only be sold where permitted by municipal ordinance
  • Growlers of beer may be sold for “carry-out” only

Class “B” Liquor License Holder

  • Sales must occur in a face-to-face transaction during state or municipality-approved hours (not during required closing hours)
  • Lines for “carry-out” must have an environment where patrons and staff maintain social distancing (six feet away from other people), and establishments must abide by the prohibition on gatherings of 10 people per Department of Health Services order
  • Patrons may only enter the establishment for the purposes of picking up or paying for food or beverages
  • Alcoholic beverages must be sold in original, sealed containers
  • Alcoholic beverages may only be sold where permitted by municipal ordinance

Winery

  • Sales must occur in a face-to-face transaction during state or municipality-approved hours (not during required closing hours)
  • Wineries holding retail licenses may sell alcohol beverages in original, sealed containers on a “carry-out” basis only, and consistent with both their existing license authorizations and the clarifications above for other establishments
  • Wineries holding direct wine shipper’s permits may continue to ship or deliver wine directly to consumers and in accordance with all other regulations pertaining to direct shipments of wine by wineries

Class “C” Wine License Holder

  • “Carry-out” sales of wine are not permitted
  1. Manufacture of Alcohol: Under the proposed guidance, producers of alcohol beverages (breweries, brewpubs, wineries, manufacturers, and rectifiers) may continue to manufacture and/or rectify alcohol beverages in accordance with their permit(s).
  2. Sales by Producers of Alcoholic Beverages: Under the proposed guidance, producers of alcoholic beverages may continue to self-distribute alcohol beverages to retailers as permitted by law.
  3. Sales by Wholesalers to Retailers/Other Wholesalers: Under the proposed guidance, wholesalers of alcohol beverages may continue to make sales to licensed or permitted retailers and to other wholesalers as permitted by law.

A complete copy of the proposed guidance document is available at the following link: https://www.revenue.wi.gov/DORNews/NEW-AB-COVID-19-Guidance-Document.pdf

DISCLAIMER: The information provided is for general informational purposes only. This post is not updated to account for changes in the law and should not be considered tax or legal advice. This article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with legal and/or financial advisors for legal and tax advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

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