Current Legislative Activity
Nearly 80 members of the Michigan Brewers Guild gathered in Lansing on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 to show a united front with the state’s elected officials.
“It’s important for us to host this event each year to keep our names and faces in front of legislators,” says Scott Graham, Executive Director of the Michigan Brewers Guild. “Our association is experiencing record growth and we are proud to have our largest representation here in Lansing.”
BREAKING NEWS: Rep. Hooker’s proposed tax hike falls flat with craft brewers
Representative Hooker recently introduced a bill that would terrible for Michigan’s breweries. The bill proposes to increase the excise tax on beer by nearly 250% which would stifle growth in our industry. One common theme in our industry is that breweries and microbreweries are challenged to keep up with growth and they need every available dollar to put back into expansion and the addition of employees. This potential increase in taxation would be detrimental to Michigan’s breweries and the overall craft beer business including retailer, wholesalers and consumers. The beer industry is already heavily taxed including both the federal excise tax and the state excise tax, in addition to all other business taxes. Michigan’s tax on beer is the highest in the Great Lakes Region (higher than Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin) and should be reduced, not raised. HB 5873 would be bad for Michigan craft beer and we urge our Representatives to oppose the bill.
Public Act number 106 of 2016 was signed into law May 3, 2016 with immediate effect. This law is important to Michigan Microbrewers and Brewers because it allows for the use of unpaid social media promotion when promoting their brands. The Michigan Liquor Control Code and Administrative Rules (R 436.1319) do not allow cooperative advertising between manufacturers (Microbrewers & Brewers) and retail licensees such as restaurants, bars, grocery stores, party stores, etc. Prior to the passage of this law Microbrewers and Brewers were not allowed to mention the name of a retail licensee in their advertising, which would include social media posts.
It is worth noting that the current rules which do not allow a beer manufacturers to purchase advertising and mention a retail licensee by name do tend to level the playing field for small brewers and help them be more competitive in the marketplace. The problem is that when the MLCC Code and this Rule were put into place there was no social media and now this was an unintended consequence which needed to be corrected.
Public Act 106 allows Microbrewers and Brewers to use unpaid social media to advertise the following:
- An on-premises brand promotion
- Beer tastings under section 537 of the MLCC Code
- A product location communication
The entire Public Act can be downloaded below:
Public Act 106 of 2016 (46 KB)
The Michigan Brewers Guild appreciates the support of the Legislature in clearing up this important issue, especially the bill’s primary sponsor, Representative Klint Kesto.
Past Activity Archive
In March, 2014 a group of bills were signed into law that include important changes to the laws regulating the brewing industry in Michigan. The Michigan Brewers Guild was actively involved throughout the process for more than a year, which ultimately lead to these changes. The package of bills all relate to the Liquor Control Code and several amend regulations for breweries.
A summary of all of the bills included in the package follows with additional detail provided for key bills relating to breweries. Items in boldface have a significant impact on the Michigan craft brewing industry.
SB 504 – This bill revises some language in the liquor code to not say "liberally construed" but "construed to the effect and intent"
SB 505 - This bill allows licensed retailers (bars, restaurants, etc.) to use certain items referred to as “barware” with brewery/brand logos given certain conditions and restrictions. This has been referred to as a bill dealing with “Secondary Use” items. Logo glassware and other items must be purchased by a retailer from an independent third party and cannot be supplied by the brewery or wholesaler.
SB 506 – This bill allows beer producers in Michigan to designate their wholesalers to pay the per barrel tax if they chose.
SB 507 – This bill allows wine makers to designate their wholesalers to pay the tax on the sale of their wine.
SB 650 – This bill allows limited self-distribution for Microbrewers given certain restrictions and conditions:
- Must produce less than 1,000 barrels of beer per year (including tap room sales)
- Cannot deliver to retailers located within a sales territory where sales rights have already been assigned to a wholesaler
- Beer must be delivered by the Microbrewer in a vehicle owned by the Microbrewer Must comply with MLCC provisions relating to employees and vehicles used to deliver beer, price schedules, etc. This means you have to follow any regulations that a wholesaler would.
HB 4709 – This bill changes the definition of Microbrewer by increasing the amount of beer that can be produced under that license from 30,000 barrels to 60,000 barrels annually.
HB 4710 – This bill increases the number of Brewpubs that an individual can own from 3 to 6 and increases the quantity of beer that can be produced by these brewpubs (combined) from 5,000 barrels to 18,000 barrels annually.
HB 4711 – This bill increases the number of locations where a licensed Brewer (produces more than 60,000 barrels) can sell its beer for on-premise consumption from 1 to 2 locations. This bill also limits a Microbrewer that produces between 30,000 - 60,000 barrels to selling beer for consumption on-premise at no more than 3 locations. The number of locations for Microbrewers under 30,000 barrels remains unchanged (not limited).
HB 4277 – This bill allows the MLCC to issue conditional liquor licenses in certain situations.