Wedding barn

Wedding barns often aren't required to have the same liquor licenses as country clubs and banquet halls, which means renters can bring in booze more cheaply. Some retailers think that's unfair, and the state should step in to make regulations clearer.

This summer, dozens of brides and grooms have tossed out the idea of a stuffy hotel ballroom or a country club cliché and opted instead for a rural barn reception, lit by fairy lights and strung with fresh flowers. 

What may never have occurred to them as they stocked the bar from the aisles of Costco is that doing so might be illegal. Or maybe not? The law isn't clear. 

"The hands-off approach to wedding barns and other unregulated events spaces highlights a lack of consistency when it comes to enforcing liquor laws," wrote Katelyn Ferral, an investigative reporter at the Cap Times, in a recent cover story. 

Katelyn joins host Lindsay Christians on the podcast this week to talk about that story, "Who's calling the shots? Tavern owners want more regulation from the state in an increasingly competitive market." They discuss what the three-tier system of makers, distributors and retailers is intended to do, how well it actually works, and why craft distillers have found themselves at odds with the powerful Tavern League of Wisconsin.

The Corner Table recently wrapped up a short series, Making a Restaurant, about how restaurants are built from the first idea, the financing, the design and the menu. To get started with that, go here. We also did a live podcast with chef Nyanyika Banda of Martha's Daughter in Duluth, available here

Subscribe to the Corner Table, a podcast about food and drink in Madison, on Soundcloud, Stitcher or iTunes and rate us if you like it! 

Other Cap Times podcasts include opinion editor Jessie Opoien's state politics podcast Wedge Issues (every Friday at 10 a.m.), the award-winning local government podcast Madsplainers, Katelyn Ferral's 2017 series The Cost of Opportunity about student loan debt and ongoing Cap Times Talks.

Food editor and arts writer Lindsay Christians has been writing for the Cap Times since 2008. She hosts the food podcast The Corner Table and runs a program for student theater critics. Member @AFJEats and @ATCA. She/ her/ hers.