November 29, 2014

Bar patrons tap into rich history

Wisconsinites flocking to the bars this holiday weekend are part a long line of patrons going back to the 19th century European immigrants who settled in the Badger State. Historian Jim Draeger says these immigrants came from cultures where drinking was “socially acceptable.”  He also cites Wisconsin’s heavy tavern culture as a by-product of the numerous breweries housed in the state.

Draeger, who co-wrote Bottoms Up: A Toast to Wisconsin’s Historic Bars and Breweries, says the tavern has come to be “our extended living room.”  He adds Wisconsinites aren’t the biggest drinkers as the Badger State ranks ninth in the U.S. of per capita consumption of alcohol.

Draeger says there are fewer bars nowadays as attitudes about drinking and driving have changed and the phenomena of cocooning, people staying at home more.

AUDIO:  Brian Moon reports (1:12)