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Wedding venue owners rally around new liquor licensing bill

By Jeremy Landgrebe

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CHIPPEWA VALLEY, Wis. (WQOW) — Wisconsin wedding venue owners have come together to find solutions to new liquor license laws.

The Chippewa Valley Wedding and Event Professionals group hosted a roundtable discussion with wedding venue owners from across the state and State Senator Jeff Smith.

Their goal: finding ways for venues to adapt to a new bill that will take effect in 2026. This bill will either require them to obtain a permit that would allow them to host events only six times a year , no more than once a month, or obtain a liquor license to sell alcohol as many times as they wish. This could be difficult in “dry townships”, which do not issue liquor licenses.

During this roundtable, many owners explained that they were already losing business. They said many couples are looking to plan their wedding in advance without having to worry about whether they can drink alcohol during their celebration.

“Everyone has the same concerns across the state,” said Jean Bahn, owner of Farmview Event Barn. “Once I explained parts of this bill, even to my guests in my room, I didn’t find anyone who thought it was a good thing. That it benefited everyone. I don’t think consumers realize that this puts them under pressure. Their choices will disappear and it will cost them more.

The owners of Farmview Events in Berlin and Monarch Valley in Blair are suing the state Department of Revenue over the new law. Bahn hopes this lawsuit will eliminate all restrictions and send the message that laws should benefit the people of Wisconsin, not penalize specific groups.

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