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When You Outlaw Butter, Outlaws Will Come to Illinois to Get It

Germany - : irish butter Kerrygold
ullstein bild, Getty Images

Our friends to the north in Wisconsin take a few things pretty seriously. Things like: Packers football, string cheese and fireworks roadside stands, Packers football, other types of cheese sold at roadside stands, beer, sausage, cheese  hats, and of course, Packers football. Oh yeah, and butter. They take butter very, very seriously.

Take for instance, the current flap about Irish-made Kerrygold Butter. I can’t say for sure whether or not I’ve ever had Kerrygold Butter, but seeing how it’s illegal to sell in the Dairy State, I have to admit to being curious about it.

Why is Kerrygold Butter illegal to sell in Wisconsin? Basically, it’s because it’s not from Wisconsin. Actually, there’s a bit more to it, involving “grading,” but a 1954 Wisconsin law puts it all down in black and white. Click here to read the statute.

From the Wisconsin State Journal:

…butter bootleggers, stocking up on an acclaimed Irish-made butter that cannot be sold in Wisconsin due to a 1954 Dairy State law prohibiting the sale of butter without either a Wisconsin or federal grade mark. So Wisconsin fans of Kerrygold butter, which is graded, produced and packaged in Ireland, have had to either buy it online or venture to a neighboring state that has looser butter regulations than Wisconsin.

Where are Irish butter-starved Wisconsin folks supposed to go for their Kerrygold? How about Roscoe?

Larry Larson, who oversees the dairy and frozen foods departments at Schnucks in Roscoe, Illinois, 4 miles south of the Wisconsin border was driving to work one day, and he heard a radio news report about Kerrygold butter not being available in Wisconsin. Larson was aware of the brand’s popularity, and with his store’s proximity to Wisconsin thought it would be a good idea to stock up. “One day I just thought since we’re so close (to Wisconsin), that people looking for it would come over the line to buy it, and it seems to be happening,” Larson said.


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