Intoxicating Liquors FAQ 23

Who can obtain temporary (picnic) beer and wine licenses and is there any limit on the number of picnic licenses that can be obtained in a year?

Picnic licenses can only be issued to “bona fide” clubs and chambers of commerce, to county or local fair associations or agricultural societies, to churches, lodges or societies that have been in existence for at least six months, and to veterans’ organizations. Wis. Stat. §§ 125.26(6) and 125.51(10).

Although the source of authority is unclear, the consensus has long been that the dictionary definition of “club” as a “group of people organized for a common purpose, especially a group that meets regularly,” is applicable for purposes of picnic licenses rather than the definition of “club” in Wis. Stat. § 125.02(4). The dictionary defines “bona fide” as authentic, genuine, done or made in good faith, without deception or fraud.

An individual, partnership, or business corporation is not eligible for a picnic license because they are not a “club” within the meaning of the statute.

Although there is no limit on the number of temporary Class “B” (picnic) beer licenses that may be issued to an eligible organization in a calendar year, not more than two temporary “Class B” (picnic) wine licenses may be issued to an eligible organization in any 12-month period. § 125.51(10). (Rev. 6/21)