Brewers, others come out against ‘alcohol czar’ bill

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin breweries are fighting against a bill that would create a powerful new “alcohol czar” position to enforce liquor laws in the state.

The Wisconsin Brewers Guild, the Wisconsin Winery Association and MillerCoors are among those opposing the measure that got a public hearing before a Senate committee Thursday.

The new “alcohol czar” position would have broad powers to enforce Wisconsin laws and regulations governing the production, distribution and sale of beer, wine and alcohol.

The measure is backed by the Wisconsin Wine and Spirit Institute, whose lobbyist is the brother of Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. He told reporters Thursday that he had talked with his brother about the bill, but there was no undue influence.

Gov. Scott Walker has not endorsed the bill and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says it will be difficult to pass.

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