“Intoxicating liquor" means all ardent, spirituous, distilled or vinous liquors, liquids or compounds, whether medicated, proprietary, patented or not, and by whatever name called, containing 0.5 percent or more of alcohol by volume, which are beverages, but does not include “fermented malt beverages".
“Legal drinking age" means 21 years of age.
“License" means an authorization to sell alcohol beverages issued by a municipal governing body under this chapter.
“Manufacturer" means a person, other than a rectifier, that ferments, manufactures or distills intoxicating liquor.
“Municipality" means a city, village or town.
“Painting studio" means an establishment that is primarily engaged in the business of providing to customers instruction in the art of painting and that offers customers the opportunity to purchase food and beverages for consumption while they paint.
“Peace officer" means a sheriff, undersheriff, deputy sheriff, police officer, constable, marshal, deputy marshal or any employee of the department or of the department of justice authorized to act under this chapter.
“Person" means a natural person, sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation or association or the owner of a single-owner entity that is disregarded as a separate entity under ch. 71
“Premises" means the area described in a license or permit.
“Primary source of supply" means any of the following:
With respect to fermented malt beverages, the brewer or brewpub that manufactured the fermented malt beverages or the exclusive agent designated by this brewer or brewpub.
With respect to intoxicating liquor, the manufacturer, the rectifier, or the exclusive agent designated by the manufacturer or rectifier.
“Principal business" means the primary activity as determined by analyzing the amount of capital, labor, time, attention and floor space devoted to each business activity and by analyzing the sources of net income and gross income. The name, appearance and advertising of the entity may also be taken into consideration if they are given less weight.
“Rectifier" means any one of the following:
A person that rectifies, purifies or refines distilled spirits or wines by any process other than by original and continuous distillation from mash, wort or wash, through continuous closed vessels or pipes, until the manufacture thereof is complete.
A person who possesses any still or leach tub or keeps any other apparatus for refining distilled spirits.
A person who after rectifying and purifying distilled spirits, by mixing such spirits with any materials, manufactures any spurious, imitation or compound liquors for sale.
A distiller or any person under substantially the same control as a distiller who, without rectifying, purifying or refining distilled spirits, by mixing such spirits with any materials, manufactures any spurious, imitation or compound liquors for sale under the name of “whiskey", “brandy", “gin", “rum", “spirits", “cordials" or any other name.
A person who places intoxicating liquor in bottles or other containers.
“Regulation" means any rule or ordinance adopted by a municipal governing body.
“Restaurant" means any building, room, or place where meals are prepared or served or sold to transients or the general public, including all places used in connection with it and including any public or private school lunchroom for which food service is provided by contract. For purposes of this subsection, “meals" does not include soft drinks, ice cream, milk, milk drinks, ices, and confections. “Restaurant" does not include any of the following:
Taverns that serve free lunches consisting of popcorn, cheese, crackers, pretzels, cold sausage, cured fish, or bread and butter.
Churches, religious, fraternal, youths' or patriotic organizations, service clubs and civic organizations which occasionally prepare, serve, or sell meals to transients or the general public.
Any public or private school lunchroom for which food service is directly provided by the school, or a private individual selling foods from a movable or temporary stand at public farm sales.
Any bed and breakfast establishment, as defined in s. 97.01 (1g)
, that serves breakfasts only to its lodgers.
Any college campus, as defined in s. 36.05 (6m)
, institution as defined in s. 36.51 (1) (b)
, or technical college that serves meals only to the students enrolled in the college campus, institution, or technical college or to authorized elderly persons under s. 36.51
A concession stand at a locally sponsored sporting event, such as a little league game.
“Retailer" means any person who sells, or offers for sale, any alcohol beverages to any person other than a person holding a permit or a license under this chapter.
“Sell", “sold", “sale" or “selling" means any transfer of alcohol beverages with consideration or any transfer without consideration if knowingly made for purposes of evading the law relating to the sale of alcohol beverages or any shift, device, scheme or transaction for obtaining alcohol beverages, including the solicitation of orders for, or the sale for future delivery of, alcohol beverages.
“State fair park” means the property, buildings, and other improvements under the management of the state fair park board located in the city of West Allis and the city of Milwaukee bounded by I 94 to the north, S. 76th Street to Pierce Street to S. 77th Street to the east, W. Greenfield Avenue to the south, and S. 84th Street to the west.
“Tamper-evident seal” means a device or material that is used to securely and fully close off a container, with no perforations, in such a manner that access to the contents of the container cannot be gained without showing evidence of tampering.
“Underage person" means a person who has not attained the legal drinking age.
“Wholesaler" means a person, other than a brewer, brewpub, manufacturer, or rectifier, who sells alcohol beverages to a licensed retailer or to another person who holds a permit to sell alcohol beverages at wholesale.
“Wine" means products obtained from the normal alcohol fermentation of the juice or must of sound, ripe grapes, other fruits or other agricultural products, imitation wine, compounds sold as wine, vermouth, cider, perry, mead and sake, if such products contain not less than 0.5 percent nor more than 21 percent of alcohol by volume.
“Wine collector" means an individual who meets the standards established by the department by rule and who is registered with the department as a collector of wine.
Department rule making. 125.03(1)(a)(a)
The department, in furtherance of effective control, may promulgate rules consistent with this chapter and ch. 139
The department shall promulgate rules providing for registration of wine collectors and establishing standards of eligibility for registration as a wine collector. The rules shall also specify the form and manner of notice required under s. 125.06 (11m)
The department may by rule prescribe the standard size, form or character of any container in which intoxicating liquor may be sold in this state except that the department may not set the size of containers in which intoxicating liquor, except wine containing not more than 21 percent of alcohol by volume, may be sold at a capacity greater than 1.75 liters (59.1752 fluid ounces).
See also s. Tax 8.41
, Wis. adm. code.
Civil liability exemption: furnishing alcohol beverages. 125.035(2)
A person is immune from civil liability arising out of the act of procuring alcohol beverages for or selling, dispensing or giving away alcohol beverages to another person.
does not apply if the person procuring, selling, dispensing or giving away alcohol beverages causes their consumption by force or by representing that the beverages contain no alcohol.
In this subsection, “provider" means a person, including a licensee or permittee, who procures alcohol beverages for or sells, dispenses or gives away alcohol beverages to an underage person in violation of s. 125.07 (1) (a)
does not apply if the provider knew or should have known that the underage person was under the legal drinking age and if the alcohol beverages provided to the underage person were a substantial factor in causing injury to a 3rd party. In determining whether a provider knew or should have known that the underage person was under the legal drinking age, all relevant circumstances surrounding the procuring, selling, dispensing or giving away of the alcohol beverages may be considered, including any circumstance under subds. 1.
In addition, sub. (2)
does apply if all of the following occur:
The underage person falsely represents that he or she has attained the legal drinking age.
The underage person supports the representation with documentation that he or she has attained the legal drinking age.
The alcohol beverages are provided in good faith reliance on the underage person's representation that he or she has attained the legal drinking age.
The appearance of the underage person is such that an ordinary and prudent person would believe that he or she had attained the legal drinking age.
does not apply to civil forfeiture actions for violation of any provision of this chapter or any local ordinance in conformity with any provision of this chapter.
History: 1985 a. 47
Whether an alleged activity arising out of the act of procuring alcohol is a tort itself, a conspiracy to commit a tort, or aiding and abetting a tort, this section provides immunity. Greene v. Farnsworth, 188 Wis. 2d 365
, 525 N.W.2d 107
(Ct. App. 1994).
The distinction that this statute draws between providers of alcohol to underage and other drinkers does not violate the constitutional guarantees of equal protection. Doering v. WEA Insurance Group, 193 Wis. 2d 118
, 532 N.W.2d 432
A person who provides alcohol to an underage person, when the alcohol is a substantial factor in causing injury to a third party, is not immune from liability in a suit by that third party solely because that third party, also underage, illegally consumed alcohol. Miller v. Thomack, 204 Wis. 2d 242
, 555 N.W.2d 130
(Ct. App. 1996), 95-1684
An individual who provides alcohol to an underage person that is a substantial factor in causing an accident that ultimately injures the individual cannot be a third party under sub. (4) (b) and cannot take advantage of the exception to immunity for providers of alcohol in order to pursue an action against other providers. Meier v. Champ's Sport Bar & Grill, Inc., 2001 WI 20
, 241 Wis. 2d 605
, 623 N.W.2d 94
A person who agreed to be a designated driver, freeing a bartender to serve a possibly intoxicated person more alcohol, brought about the acquisition of the alcohol, “procuring" it for purposes of sub. (2), but was immune from liability when he later did not provide a ride and the intoxicated person drove and caused a fatal collision. Stephenson v. Universal Metrics, Inc., 2002 WI 30
, 251 Wis. 2d 171
, 641 N.W.2d 158
If an injured claimant is a third party to the transaction by which the defendant provided alcohol to an underage person, and the alcohol was a substantial factor in causing the third-party claimant's injury, the exception to immunity under sub. (4) (b) applies, and the defendant may be liable. A third person's contributory liability for providing alcohol to himself or herself does not affect the immunity determination, although the injured person's contributory fault may bear upon a defendant's ultimate liability. Anderson v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., 2003 WI 148
, 267 Wis. 2d 121
, 671 N.W.2d 651
. See also Mueller v. McMillian Warner Insurance Co., 2005 WI App 210
, 287 Wis. 2d 154
, 704 N.W.2d 613
Liquor Vendors and Social Hosts: Are They Immune From Civil Liability? Chapin. Wis. Law. Dec. 1992.
Liquor Vendors and Social Hosts: Are They Still Immune from Serving Adults? Chapin. Wis. Law. Dec. 1995.
Another Look at Dram Shop Liability. Emerson & Stroebel. Wis. Law. Aug. 2000.
Social Host Liability for Underage Drinking. Hinkston. Wis. Law. June 2008.
Civil liability exemption for municipalities.
No municipality, as defined in s. 67.01 (5)
, or municipal governing body, committee, official or employee is civilly liable for damage to any person or property caused by the consumption of alcohol beverages by that person or any other person, by reason of any of the following:
Issuing a license to sell alcohol beverages.
Allowing the holder of a license or permit to sell, dispense or give away alcohol beverages on property owned or leased by the municipality.
Failing to monitor or supervise the activities of the licensee or permittee.
History: 1985 a. 47
; 1989 a. 253
Civil liability exemption for retaining proofs of age.
No person who holds a license or permit and no employee of such a person is civilly liable for retaining a document presented as proof of age for a reasonable length of time in a good faith effort to determine whether the person who presented the document is an underage person or to notify a law enforcement authority of a suspected violation of s. 125.085 (3) (a)
History: 1997 a. 27
General licensing requirements. 125.04(1)(1)
License or permit; when required.
No person may sell, manufacture, rectify, brew or engage in any other activity for which this chapter provides a license, permit, or other type of authorization without holding the appropriate license, permit or authorization issued under this chapter.
Licenses or permits issued in violation of chapter.
No license or permit may be issued to any person except as provided in this chapter. Any license or permit issued in violation of this chapter is void.
Applications for licenses and permits. 125.04(3)(a)
The department shall prepare an application form for each kind of license, other than a manager's or operator's license, and for each kind of permit issued under this chapter. Each form shall require all of the following information:
A history of the applicant relevant to the applicant's fitness to hold a license or permit.
The kind of license or permit for which the applicant is applying.
The premises where alcohol beverages will be sold or stored or both.
If the applicant is a corporation, the identity of the corporate officers and agent.
If the applicant is a limited liability company, the identity of the company members or managers and agent.
If the applicant is a cooperative organized under ch. 185
, the identity of the cooperative members, board of directors, and agent.