An Oneida County Committee revoked Minocqua Brewing Company’s license – what happens now is up in the air
Minocqua Brewing Company owner Kirk Bangstad speaking at the Oneida County Planning and Zoning committee meeting in Woodruff Aug. 2.
By B.C. Kowalski
MMC Contributing Editor
WOODRUFF – After hours of testimony, an Oneida County committee revoked the license of Minocqua Brewing Company, owned by the outspoken Kirk Bangstad.
But what happens next is unclear.
Bangstad told reporters after the meeting he planned to continue to operate, and a conditional use permit he applied for will be decided next week, despite the revocation essentially shutting down his business.
Wednesday was a busy one for the progressive brewery owner. Bangstad filed for an injunction against Wednesday’s meeting that was denied, organized a protest Wednesday prior to the meeting, and spent four hours in a meeting in Woodruff of the county’s Zoning and Development Committee.
Dozens of people testified, many on behalf of Bangstad and Minocqua Brewing Company, though some also spoke out against him and the brewery. The committee threatened to revoke his license after they said he violated the terms of his permit, which prohibit outside sales. At a previous meeting, the committee detailed numerous examples where patrons were outside with alcohol.
Bangstad told the committee he understood technically he was violating the permit’s rules, but didn’t see how allowing people to sit on a “stoop” a few feet outside the big bay doors of the establishment was really harming anyone. At one point, Bangstad offered that if they allow him to keep his business, he would be the best behaved citizen they’ve ever seen, which drew a laugh from many in attendance.
The meeting was a continuation from the previous week, which ended in Bangstad shouting his prepared speech while the acting chair tried to get him to stop, finally shutting down the meeting.
The committee delayed acting on his conditional use permit to operate a beer garden on his property, which seemed moot at that point since revoking his permit essentially doesn’t allow Minocqua Brewing Company to operate anyway. Since it was 5 p.m., and county attorneys advised that if they were going to deny his permit, they ought to lay out in detail why, that the decision would be delayed until Aug. 9.
Minocqua Brewing Company’s Facebook page, which had been active throughout the day and weeks leading up to the decision, was silent until late Thursday morning, in which Bangstad reiterated that he planned to appeal the decision, and ultimately challenge the county in Federal court. Bangstad also started a fundraiser for legal expenses through the Act Blue platform. Bangstad told TV reporters after the meeting that he would continue to serve until someone padlocked the building.
MMC also reached out to Planning and Zoning Director Karl Jennrich to ask what will happen next, especially if Bangstad decides to keep operating. Jennrich had not yet responded.