2017 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 125. Alcohol beverages.
125.54 Wholesalers' permits.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 125.54 (2017)

125.54 Wholesalers' permits.

(1)Authorized activities. The department shall issue wholesalers' permits authorizing the permittee to sell, from the premises described in the permit, intoxicating liquor at wholesale to retailers and wholesalers, as well as to manufacturers, rectifiers, and wineries for production purposes. The permittee may not sell intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises. Possession of a permit under this section does not authorize the permittee to sell tax-free intoxicating liquor and wine brought into this state under s. 139.03 (5).

(2)Persons eligible. Except as provided under s. 125.69, a wholesaler's permit may be issued to any person who holds a valid certificate issued under s. 73.03 (50) and who is qualified under s. 125.04 (5), except a foreign corporation, a foreign limited liability company or a person acting as an agent for or in the employ of another. Notwithstanding s. 125.04 (5) (a) 5., a person is not required to complete a responsible beverage server training course to be eligible for a permit under this section.

(3)Taste samples on “Class A" premises. Wholesalers holding a permit issued under this section, employees of such wholesalers, and individuals representing such wholesalers may not assist or participate in providing taste samples under s. 125.06 (13) (a) or 125.51 (2) (am).

(5)Sales area. No wholesaler may sell any intoxicating liquor before filing with the department a written statement that the permittee is a distributor of a particular brand in this state, or an area of this state, and that the sales of that brand by the permittee and anyone purchasing from the permittee will be limited to the area specified. The permittee shall notify the department of any change in the area within 7 days of the effective date of the change.

(6)Multiple permits. Not more than 2 wholesalers' permits may be issued to any one person. In each application for a wholesaler's permit, the applicant shall state that application has not been made for more than one other wholesaler's permit.

(7)Bona fide wholesalers.


1. The premises described in a permit issued under this section shall be capable of warehousing intoxicating liquor. Any intoxicating liquor sold by the permittee shall be physically unloaded at the premises described in the permit, or at any warehouse premises for which the permittee under this section also holds a permit issued under s. 125.19, prior to being delivered to a retail licensee or permittee or to another wholesaler.

2. A permittee under this section shall annually sell and deliver intoxicating liquor to at least 10 retail licensees or permittees that do not have any direct or indirect interest in each other or in the permittee under this section. The department shall not issue a permit under this section unless the applicant represents to the department an intention to satisfy this requirement, and shall not renew a permit issued under this section unless the permittee demonstrates that this requirement has been satisfied.

(b) No intoxicating liquor retail licensee or permittee may receive a benefit from a violation under par. (a) with knowledge of the circumstances giving rise to the violation.


1. A wholesaler who violates this subsection shall be fined not more than $10,000. In addition, a court shall order the wholesaler to forfeit an amount equal to any profit gained by the wholesaler or by a retail licensee or permittee that violates par. (b), or by both, resulting from the violation, and the court shall further order that the wholesaler's permit be revoked.

2. A court shall order a retail licensee or permittee who violates this subsection to forfeit an amount equal to any profit gained by the retail licensee or permittee resulting from the violation, and the court shall further order that the retail license or permit be revoked.

3. This paragraph shall not affect the authority of any municipality or the department to revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew or issue a license or permit under s. 125.12.

(d) The department shall promulgate rules to administer and enforce the requirements under this subsection. The rules shall ensure coordination between the department's issuance and renewal of permits under this section and its enforcement of the requirements of this subsection, and shall require that all applications for issuance or renewal of permits under this section be processed by department personnel generally familiar with activities of intoxicating liquor wholesalers. The department shall establish by rule minimum requirements for warehouse facilities on premises described in permits issued under this section and for periodic site inspections by the department of such warehouse facilities.

(e) This subsection does not apply to a cooperative wholesaler under s. 125.545.

(8)Duty to work in good faith. Each wholesaler has an obligation to negotiate in good faith with any manufacturer, rectifier, or winery that seeks to sell its products in this state through the wholesaler. To this end, all wholesalers shall work diligently to ensure that distribution channels are available for the sale of intoxicating liquor products through wholesalers to retailers in this state.

History: 1981 c. 79; 1985 a. 5; 1989 a. 253; 1993 a. 112, 259, 491; 1995 a. 27; 2005 a. 25; 2007 a. 85; 2015 a. 10.

Section 176.05 (1a) (b) [now s. 125.54 (5)] does not prohibit a wholesaler from selling to a retailer located outside an area described in an area statement provided that the sale takes place within that area. 70 Atty. Gen. 258.

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