Change in Permitted Hours for “To Go” Alcohol Sales

Municipal Law Alert, February 2012

On December 7, 2011, Governor Walker signed 2011 Wisconsin Act 97 into law. The new law became effective when it was published on December 20, 2011. The statutory sections affected by this change are § 125.32(3)(b) (beer) and § 125.68(4)(b) (liquor stores). It passed in the State Senate on a 23 to 8 vote, getting bipartisan support.

The only change made by this new law is that liquor stores (“Class A” license) and other retailers, such as grocery or convenience stores, which sell beer and other fermented malt beverages “to go” (Class “A” licenses) may now open at 6:00 a.m. instead of 8:00 a.m. Closing times of 9:00 p.m. for liquor stores and midnight for take away beer sales remain unchanged.

Keep in mind that this does not necessarily mean that any given liquor store, grocery store or convenience store may lawfully open at 6:00 a.m. in any given community, since a municipality may, by ordinance, impose more restrictive hours than those found in the state statutes.

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