"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.
"Underage person" means a person who has not attained the legal drinking age.
"Wholesaler" means a person, other than a brewer, manufacturer or rectifier, who sells alcohol beverages to a licensed retailer or to another person who holds a permit or license 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 0.5% or more of alcohol by volume.
Country clubs opening any part of their facilities to the general public lose their eligibility for "country club" liquor or beer licenses. 69 Atty. Gen. 248.
Department rule making. 125.03(1)
The department, in furtherance of effective control, may promulgate rules consistent with this chapter and ch. 139
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% of alcohol by volume, may be sold at a capacity greater than 1.75 liters (59.1752 fluid ounces).
No person may violate a rule promulgated under sub. (1)
History: 1981 c. 79
, 1989 a. 253
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.
(3) Subsection (2)
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)
(b) Subsection (2)
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.
(5) Subsection (2)
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 Ins. 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).
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 3rd party to the transaction by which the defendant provided alcohol to an underage person, and the alcohol was a substantial factor in causing the 3rd-party claimant's injury, the exception to immunity under sub. (4) (b) applies and the defendant may be liable. A 3rd 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 Company, 2003 WI 148, 267 Wis. 2d 121
, 671 N.W.2d 651
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.
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)
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.
(2) 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.
(3) Applications for licenses and permits. 125.04(3)(a)(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.
Application for renewing.
The department may prepare a simplified application form for renewal of each kind of license or permit which requires only information pertinent to renewal.
The department shall make one copy of each kind of license application that it prepares available to each municipality.
An application form prepared by the department shall be used by each applicant for a permit.
A replica of an application form prepared by the department shall be used by each applicant for a license, other than a manager's or operator's license.
Each application for a license, other than a manager's or operator's license, shall be sworn to by the applicant. The applicant shall file the application for a license with the municipal clerk of the intended place of sale.
The applicant shall file the application for a permit with the department.
Except as provided in subds. 2.
, all applications for licenses to sell alcohol beverages shall be filed with the clerk of the municipality in which the premises are located at least 15 days prior to the granting of the license.
In counties having a population of 500,000 or more, the governing body of the municipality shall establish the time, prior to the granting of a license, by which an application shall be filed with the clerk.
For licenses issued under s. 125.26 (6)
for a picnic or other gathering lasting less than 4 days, the governing body of the municipality shall establish the time, prior to the granting of a license, by which an application shall be filed with the clerk.
Publication of application for license.
The municipal clerk shall publish each application for a Class "A", Class "B", "Class A", "Class B" or "Class C" license, except licenses under ss. 125.26 (6)
and 125.51 (10)
, prior to its issuance in a newspaper according to the following conditions:
The publication shall include the name and address of the applicant, the kind of license applied for and the location of the premises to be licensed.
The newspaper utilized for publication shall have been regularly published, on a daily or weekly basis for a period of not less than 2 years before the date of publication in the municipality in which is located the premises to be licensed.
If the municipality in which the premises is located has no newspaper, the newspaper utilized for publication shall be one having circulation in the municipality and designated by the governing body. If no designation is made, publication shall be in the newspaper having the largest circulation in the municipality.
The newspaper utilized for publication shall be one that is published on a daily basis, except that a weekly newspaper may be utilized if a daily newspaper is not published in the municipality.
The publication shall be printed in a daily newspaper on 3 successive occasions, or if a weekly newspaper is utilized, it shall be printed at least once.
At the time the application is filed, the applicant shall pay to the clerk the cost of publication as determined under s. 985.08
Within 10 days of any change in any fact set out in an application for a license or permit to sell alcohol beverages, the licensee or permittee shall file with the issuing authority a written description of the changed fact.
Any person may inspect applications for licenses to sell alcohol beverages.
The clerk of the municipality shall retain all applications made to it for licenses to sell alcohol beverages.
The clerk of the municipality may destroy all applications more than 4 years old which have been retained under subd. 2.
(4) List of licensees.
By July 15 annually, the clerk of a municipality issuing licenses shall mail to the department a list containing the name, address and trade name of each person holding a license issued by that municipality, other than a manager's or operator's license or a license issued under s. 125.26 (6)
, the type of license held and, if the person holding the license is a corporation or limited liability company, the name of the agent appointed under sub. (6)
(5) Qualifications for licenses and permits. 125.04(5)(a)(a)
Licenses and permits related to alcohol beverages, issued to natural persons under this chapter, may be issued only to persons who fulfill all of the following requirements:
Have been residents of this state continuously for at least 90 days prior to the date of application.
Have successfully completed within the 2 years prior to the date of application a responsible beverage server training course at any location that is offered by a technical college district and that conforms to curriculum guidelines specified by the technical college system board or a comparable training course that is approved by the department or the educational approval board. This subdivision does not apply to an applicant who held, or who was an agent appointed and approved under sub. (6)
of a corporation or limited liability company that held, within the past 2 years, a Class "A", "Class A" or "Class C" license or a Class "B" or "Class B" license or permit or a manager's or operator's license.
No license or permit related to alcohol beverages may, subject to ss. 111.321
, be issued under this chapter to any person who has habitually been a law offender or has been convicted of a felony unless the person has been duly pardoned.
Corporations and limited liability companies.
No license or permit may be issued to any corporation or limited liability company unless that entity meets the qualifications under pars. (a) 1.
, unless the agent of the entity appointed under sub. (6)
and the officers and directors, or members or managers, of the entity meet the qualifications of pars. (a) 1.
and unless the agent of the entity appointed under sub. (6)
meets the qualifications under par. (a) 2.
The requirement that the entity meet the qualifications under pars. (a) 1.
does not apply if the entity has terminated its relationship with all of the individuals whose actions directly contributed to the conviction.