Wisconsin is the Only State to Ban This Butter

Some Wisconsinites are smuggling enough banned butter into their fridges to last a month.

We’ve heard of banned books, but banned butter? News made its way around the Internet this week that Irish butter brand Kerrygold would no longer be sold in Wisconsin grocery stores, and the Internet responded in typical fashion: with outrage.

Although Kerrygold is banned from being sold in Wisconsin, the Irish butter brand is legal in all 49 other states. And the ban is actually not new; in fact, it’s the result of an obscure law enacted by a panel of judges over 40 years ago. The law stipulates that only Grade A milk and milk products be distributed and sold to the public. As the grass-fed butter brand is made and manufactured in Ireland, it does not issue American grades for its products, rendering it unfit for sale in Wisconsin. 

As it turns out, Kerrygold butter enjoys a bit of a cult following in the U.S., and it’s not by accident. Their “Made for this Moment” commercial that was released last fall, their biggest campaign in America to date, caused quite a stir (churn?) with its celebration of young love, Irish heritage and, yes, butter.

Butter devotees across the dairy state are in an uproar over what they feel is an absurd state regulation, even going as far as crossing state lines to smuggle their beloved butter into their homes. While consumers are questioning who these regulations are out to protect (certainly not our morning toast and Bulletproof coffees!), any violator of this ban could receive a fine, or even jail time.

This isn’t the first time the dairy state has taken quality control to the extreme. Similar measures were recently taken regarding raw milk when a local dairy farm fell under investigation and was eventually charged with the sale of unpasteurized dairy products. The state of Wisconsin allows for the sale of raw milk only if customers buy an ownership and become members of the farm’s “herd-sharing” co-op. In other words, a loophole affords raw milk enthusiasts the right to drink unpasteurized milk from their own cows as any other farmer would, as long as they buy in first.

While Kerrygold consumers are currently stockpiling months’ worth of butter in their fridges, the Irish butter brand is looking into sorting out the situation. Kerrygold already holds the top spot for imported butter in the U.S. without any help from Wisconsinites, but there is hope that grass-fed butter might someday find its way onto our grocery store shelves once again.