Bill Foussard is a big fan of Spotted Cow beer. Whenever he’s in Wisconsin, he stops to enjoy a draught.
But he won’t sell Spotted Cow at his restaurant in White Bear Lake, Rudy’s Red Eye Grill. He can’t.
“Not available,” he tells you. “Only in Wisconsin.”
But we actually knew that already, didn’t we? Earlier this month, felony charges were filed against two men connected to the Maple Tavern in Maple Grove: bar owner Brandon Hlavka and manager David Lantos. Their alleged crime: In April 2015, the two men bought 10 kegs of Spotted Cow in Wisconsin, brought it across the border and sold it at the Maple Tavern without a license.
But felony charges?Don’t mess with Minnesota
Foussard, for one, says it was “stupid” for the barmen to try to side-step the state’s complicated liquor regulations.
“It’s a privilege to have a liquor license; there are a lot of rules, but you’ve got to follow them, go through the proper channels,” he said. “It might seem harsh — a felony charge — but you can’t mess around.”
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman agreed. “We’re not picking on these bar owners. They know the rules,” he said. “If a bar owner violates the rules they pay a price. We’re not seeking a prison sentence, of course, but there will be ramifications.”
Freeman notes that he doesn’t make the rules, he enforces them. And law on this one is clear: State statute 340A.701, subdivision 2, says it’s a felony to: “to transport or import alcoholic beverages into the state in violation of this chapter for purposes of resale.”
In Wisconsin we can buy beer, wine, whiskey and groceries all in one place.
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