NewsLocal News


Wedding Barns & Alcohol: Planned lawsuit challenges new state law

Posted at 5:29 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 18:29:45-04

The owner of a northeast Wisconsin wedding barn said a lawsuit has been filed over a new state law which affects alcohol at her venue. NBC 26 did not find that the lawsuit has officially been filed as of Wednesday afternoon.

  • Several owners of "wedding barn" event venues oppose a new state law that affects alcohol at their venues.
  • Jean Bahn, who owns Farmview Event Barn near Berlin, said the new law means she could serve beer and wine at a maximum of six events per year, choose to obtain a liquor license, or offer non-alcohol events.
  • Bahn said the goals of the lawsuit include removing the limitation of six events per year and the removal of exemptions for certain other locations in the new law.

(The following is a transcript of the broadcast story.)

The owner of a barn that hosts weddings talked to me about a lawsuit over a state new law involving wedding barns in Wisconsin and alcohol.

I couldn’t find that the lawsuit has yet been filed, but it’s planned to be against the state Department of Revenue.

We talked with a different [barn] owner, too, Stephen Nagy owns this property, Homestead Meadows Farm.

He’s not part of the lawsuit.

Weddings are hosted here.

And he’s against the new law which affects alcohol at weddings at barns like this one.

"Am I right, Stephen? Wedding barns like yours can respond to the new law in a few different ways, including holding six events per year, with wine and beer only, or getting your liquor license?" [reporter Jon Erickson asked.]

"Exactly, that is the direction that the law is forcing us to move in the 2026 season," [said Stephen Nagy, owner of Homestead Meadows Farm].

In the planned lawsuit, [the owners of two separate] barns are suing the state Department of Revenue, the DOR.

A DOR official told me they do not comment on pending litigation.

I spoke with Jean Bahn who owns Farmview Event Barn, near Berlin, which is one of the plaintiff businesses in the lawsuit.

She says the law is harmful to her business, she doesn’t want to get her liquor license, [and] among her goals of the lawsuit is getting rid of the restriction of holding [a maximum of] six events per year with wine and beer only.