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Baldwin’s tour heralds NG Brewing a success story
baldwin ng brewing
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) toured New Glarus Brewing on March 28 as part of her “Dairyland Tour” last week, which saw her travel 1,400 miles and visit 19 counties across the state in just five days. - photo by Gary Mays

NEW GLARUS — Sen. Tammy Baldwin stopped in New Glarus Thursday morning, March 28, as part of her pre-election “Dairyland Tour” and praised the brewer of iconic beers like Spotted Cow for creating jobs and staying true to its deep Wisconsin roots. 

She also came to the newish, $21 million campus of New Glarus Brewing Company to remind voters of the high stakes in the upcoming national election. Baldwin sees the national races as an existential fight for the spirit of the nation.

“We have at the national level a lot of (polarization),” said Baldwin, who is seeking a third term as senator. “I think our democracy is absolutely on the line.”

Baldwin will likely face Republican challenger Eric Hovde in the general election on Nov. 5. Hovde is a muli-millionaire businessman who spent 24 years living in Washington D.C. and has homes in Laguna Beach, Calif., and along Lake Mendota in Madison. He is the leading candidate in a GOP field of seven scheduled to face off in an Aug. 13 Wisconsin primary election. 

But on Monday, though, Baldwin learned all about beer — one of Wisconsin’s leading industries, of which New Glarus is considered the pride of Green County. Baldwin also praised the brewery’s leadership for keeping New Glarus a Wisconsin institution and success story — a story that needs to be told more often.

“I think this state is unique, but we tend not to brag about ourselves,” said the brewery’s intrepid creator, Deb Carey. “Tammy is a practical person who is from Wisconsin and works for Wisconsin.”

Carey founded New Glarus Brewing Company in 1993 as a gift for her husband Dan. The couple transformed an abandoned warehouse into the brewery’s first location. Several additional expansions followed. Now, according to Brewers Association statistics, New Glarus is the 15th largest craft brewer and 25th largest overall brewing company in the United States, by sales volume.

baldwin carey ng brewing
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), left, met with New Glarus Brewing owners Deb Carey and Dan Carey, right. - photo by Gary Mays

Moreover, the brewery has largely bounced back to its strength pre-COVID-19, according to Carey, and that’s thanks in part to leadership in Washington she said tries to remain close to how the state works.

“Traveling around the state is how I pick up information,” Baldwin said, between stops on a tour that included a walk through a vast warehouse piled high with yellow, Wisconsin-produced beer cases. “You do not learn those things unless you travel.”

Baldwin said her relationship with Carey dates to when she was a state representative. Baldwin, she said, has been a champion for local businesses.

Both Baldwin and Carey said they were pleased to hear that a recent lawsuit targeting the brewer had been dismissed. 

According to the investor allegations, Carey had shifted her focus to preserving the local ownership of the brewery, operating it for the benefit of the community, and financing a foundation she set up with brewery funds in 2021 to serve as New Glarus’ marketing arm. 

The investors also said Carey refused to disclose the “fair value” of their stock, denying them the ability to receive that value through an outside sale.”

In February 2024, the court dismissed the lawsuit, saying that the case was baseless. In a statement, Carey said that she and the brewery’s employee-owners are relieved to no longer be “under threat of a forced sale to some huge corporation that might not have the future of the New Glarus Brewing Company at heart. 

Traveling around the state is how I pick up information.
Senator Tammy Baldwin

“I’m kicking butt in court,” Carey told Baldwin, and those gathered for her tour.

Despite the dismissal of the lawsuit, however, the negative publicity was a blight on one the state and region’s most loved brands. But the brewery continues to thrive financially, with its prosperity largely credited to maintaining local distribution channels; and prioritizing the well-being of employees. The lawsuit, Carey said, did not change that mindset.

“Our job is to lift our community and take care of our people,” Carey said.

Baldwin and Carey also discussed the changing beer marketplace, with Carey citing one example: Today’s beer drinkers are shunning bottles for cans.

“Younger drinkers are moving towards cans,” she said. “I do think bottles will be a rare thing in 10 years.”

Meanwhile, the “Dairyland Tour” hit over a dozen counties that voted for former President Donald Trump in both of his presidential campaigns. Additionally, it comprises six counties that Trump won in 2016 but were later secured by Baldwin when she was elected for her second Senate term. 

As part of the now concluded tour, she traveled nearly 1,400 miles and visit 19 counties.

“On my statewide, five-day Dairyland Tour, I met with Wisconsinites from red, blue, and purple, rural, urban, and suburban communities all over the state to listen to them and hear about the most pressing issues they’re facing,” said Baldwin, in a statement. “I’m taking everything I heard right back to Washington to find solutions for our families and keep moving America’s Dairyland forward.”