Prohibition (1920-1933) went into effect a hundred years ago. It was a failure of a policy, giving rise to organized crime and creating an underground, unregulated market. Since the repeal of the 18th amendment, however, alcohol continues be a social problem. It is the third most preventable cause of death after smoking and diet/exercise. We need more access to alternative forms of treatment and mental health. Abstinence works, but doesn't work for everyone. We need more regulation of the alcohol industry including sales and use taxes. Children and adolescents should not be able to view advertising. I know I sound preachy but this is very personal to me and I hope to see some changes with our drinking culture in the future.
A recent report by the Research Society on Alcoholism has found that number of deaths per year has doubled over the past two decades,
Former Prism/Plan B location seeks alcohol outlet license for a new nightclub - Neighborhood meeting and ALRC presentation planned for January 2020
An announcement from Madison's District 6 Alder, Marsha Rummel, has been posted on neighborhood listserves:
"January 8 neighborhood meeting at 7:15p @ Wil-Mar for Canopy liquor license application at 924 Williamson St:
Please join me for a neighborhood meeting where we will hear about Austin Carl’s proposal to open Canopy at 924 Williamson Street, formerly Prism, and his application for a Visual & Performing Arts License and a Class B Liquor & Beer License. Canopy would be a coffee shop with food service during the day and a bar/nightclub with live entertainment such as bands and DJs at night. Mr. Carl also plans to remodel the upstairs into a classroom area where people could take dance, fitness, and other classes. He also intends to add an outside patio. The estimated capacity of the establishment is 375, and the proposed hours of operations are 8am-12am Sunday through Tuesday; 8am-1am on Wednesday; and 8am-2am Thursday-Saturday. The Alcohol License Review Committee will consider his application at its January 15 meeting. The proposal will also require a Conditional Use Permit due to the use as a nightclub.
Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - 7:15 p.m. Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, Yahara Room - 953 Jenifer Street
I look forward to seeing you on the 8th.
Marsha Rummel Alderperson, Sixth District email@example.com 608-772-4555"
Possible changes coming to Wisconsin's "3-Tier" system of alcohol production, distribution and vending
Wisconsin admittedly has an outmoded and very frustrating system of regulations affecting nearly everyone involved in making and selling alcohol. Everyone seems to make money, but it does seem unfair that distributors are required to be middlemen in between producers and vendors, regardless of what is practical or logical. The current regulations have been around since prohibition, and you can get a very good overview from WPR.org here: www.wpr.org/history-politics-shape-wisconsins-alcohol-laws
Here's where things get complicated: Industry groups and leaders in the state legislature (i.e. Republicans) are working to re-write those 100-year-old statutes in ways that are more 'fair' to each party. Sounds good, right? Well, the one group that is not sitting at the table when the laws are being discussed are consumer protection groups, doctors, mayors and public health officials. Why should they? Simply put, these stakeholders are the ones who have to pick up the tab for an industry that for its entire history has worked to oppose common sense approaches to reduce the harm of alcohol. Does the industry support increasing taxes, some of which have not increased since the 1960's? No. Do they support interlock ignition systems to prevent drunk driving, like the ones supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving? No. Do they support penalties and fines for taverns that over-serve patrons? No. Do they support alcohol outlet bans? No. Wisconsin taxpayers and communities are paying, literally, for the financial, health and safety costs of widespread alcohol availability and that is not expected to change anytime soon.
Ok, ok. Enough opining on my part. You can read about it yourself below. And ask your city and state officials what they think while you're at it.
More info: madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/proposal-in-the-works-to-change-wisconsin-alcoholic-beverage-enforcement/article_da9cea22-098b-5bcb-9ec1-8c3e8921cc8e.html
In what will be a very important discussion, the Alcohol License and Review Committee will be meeting at 5:30 pm this Wednesday in the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd (Rm 201 CCB). According to Alder Marsha Rummel, the topics will include:
"58134 Discussion as a Result of Alcohol Density Study • Handling of capacity numbers for alcohol licensees. • Discuss City staffing resources related to issuance, monitoring, and enforcement activities associated with Alcohol Licenses. • Policy for high density areas anywhere in the city (not just in the current overlay district). • Discussion and potential adoption of recommendations to the Common Council arising from the results of the Density Study and related aspects of Alcohol licensing and monitoring."
Please consider attending and adding your comments to the discussion!
For more information visit: madison.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=7961009&GUID=E7BC5603-FA2C-4A0C-A545-80DF9DD366FE
It is disappointing that only a very small, concentrated area of Madison is being considered for an extended moratorium on new bar licenses. It would not cover restaurants, which are a more common type of alcohol license and in my view, just as problematic. Unless the city takes measures to limit all types of alcohol outlet density in excess of 1 outlet per 400 residents. The number of outlets per resident in Wisconsin is one of the highest rates in the country (1 outlet per 330 residents). Dane county has a relatively high rate of alcohol outlet density (1 outlet per 440 residents). In the Williamson-Marquette neighborhood, where my family lives, there is 1 outlet per approximately 150 residents.
Link to article: madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/proposal-would-expand-the-area-in-downtown-madison-where-additional/article_694ae3d8-feb8-5cb6-be52-475a3c398036.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1
Below is a map from Madison.Com with the new proposed boundaries to the bar ban.
Surprising possibly no one, the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health's Population Health Institute has published a new report this week stating that the cost to the economy of Wisconsin's high binge drinking rate (2nd highest in the country) amount to $3.9 billion per year. Click below to read the full report.
Confirming link between police calls and Alcohol Outlet Density - Report is released by the City of Madison
The Madison City Dept of Finance and the joint Dane County/City of Madison Dept of Public Health just released their report on alcohol outlet density. They did not appear to take my suggestion that emergency rooms and other nonprofit service providers such as domestic abuse and homeless shelters contribute data. Nonetheless, the analysis is interesting, especially the confirmation that there are more police calls and investigations as well as building inspections in the areas of Madison with the highest densities of alcohol outlets. Another interesting thing that was found is that alcohol outlets tend to be clustered in areas where there are more people who are low-income living. It is now up to the ALRC, the Mayor and the City of Madison Common Council to determine what an appropriate number of alcohol outlets are per given area should be.
There was a presentation of the report to the Alcohol License Review Committee last night that can be viewed via the City Channel online if you are interested. (Link: media.cityofmadison.com/mediasite/showcase/madison-city-channel/channel/alcohol-license-review-committee)
The full report is available here: madison.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=7813515&GUID=53CD62F3-B627-4872-BBB8-BF157B34E768
A summary with interactive maps can be viewed here: cityofmadison.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=a6563299db6940cfb96e9a9a8fa05215
Wisconsin's alcohol death rate more than doubled since 1999. Overall, Wisconsin's life expectancy has declined for two years in a row, and for the first time in a hundred years (in 1915-1918 it declined due to the global influenza epidemic and WWI). Particularly alarming are the high rates of deaths of African Americans.
According to a new study by the Alcohol Research Group at the Public Health Institute published this month in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 53 million Americans, or 1-in-5, have been hurt in the past year due to someone else's heavy drinking. The study surveyed 9,000 adults.
About this blog
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, with a background in addictions counseling living in Madison, Wisconsin. I created this blog to raise awareness about drinking culture, alcohol outlet density, alcohol policy, alcohol dependence and risks.