Michigan Liquor Law – Spring(ish) 2014 Legislative Update

Posted on March 14, 2014

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We apologize for the lack of significant updates this winter.  I, Michael, the author of most of our posts, am opening a microbrewery in Muskegon, MI.  It has been an eye-opening experience, learning about liquor laws from the side of the applicant (rather than simply acting as the attorney).  By way of a shameless plug, feel free to find more information about my micro brewery, Pigeon Hill Brewing Company, here.  In the last two weeks, there has been significant movement on some of the bills we told you about last fall.  For more information about the bills, you can read here.  Updates are below.

Concerning Licensees in General

Statutory Prohibition On Secondary Use Advertising Items – The modified version of  Michigan Senate Bill 0505 that passed both the House and the Senate permits retail licensees to possess and use certain items of secondary use, including mirrors, napkin holders, matchbooks, and calendars.  The full list is included in the bill.

Increased Penalties for Violations of the Liquor Control Code and Rules – Michigan House Bill 4935 has made no progress since our last update.

Real Estate and mixing of the Three-Tier SystemSenate Bill 0329, as passed by the House and the Senate, permits manufacturers to sale and lease real property to retailers and other vendors under limited circumstances.

Conditional Liquor Licenses – For some time, licensees have been pushing for conditional licenses, which can soften the blow when a transfer takes a particularly lengthy period of time.  Under PA 236, Conditional Licenses shall be issued to qualified applicants (for a $300 fee) who are seeking a new SDM license, or the transfer of ownership (but not location) of an SDD or On-Premise license.

Concerning Off-Premise Licensees

Transfer of Specially Designated Distributor Licenses across LGU Lines – Until the passage of PA 237, SDD licenses could only be transferred within the local government unit for which they had been issued.  Now, escrowed SDD licenses may be transferred throughout the county in which it is issued and, in some limited circumstances, to adjoining counties.

Concerning On-Premise Licensees

BYOB of Wine – Public Act 235 permits on-premise licensees to allow the consumption of wine that is brought into the licensed premises by a customer.  There is no minimum corkage fee; however, licensees can charge a corkage fee at their discretion.

Sixteen Ounce Pint Glasses – House Bill 5040 has made no progress since our last update.

Concerning Wine Makers

Update to Farmer’s Market Permits – House Bill 4924 has made no progress since our last update.

Concerning Micro Brewers

In May, we discussed several bills pertaining to micro brewers.  You can find that post here.

Direct Sales to Retailers – Senate Bill 0650 would permit micro brewers who manufacture less than 1,000 bbl per year to delivery directly to retailers under certain circumstances.  This bill has passed the House and the Senate and is waiting to be signed into law.

Increased Barrel Limit for Micro Brewers – Senate Bill 0651 appears to be caught in limbo.  Fortunately for larger micro breweries, House Bill 4709 was passed by both the Senate and the House.  If signed into law, this bill will increase the barrel threshold for micro breweries from 30,000 barrels per year to 60,000 barrels per year..

Concerning Brewers

Number of Tasting Rooms for Michigan BrewersHouse Bill 4711 permits a Brewer to open a second tasting-room location at any of its production brewery locations.  This bill has passed the House and Senate and is waiting to be signed into law.

Concerning Brewpubs

Ability to Own Additional Brewpubs – Although  Senate Bill 0426 did not make it beyond the introduction stage, House Bill 4710 has passed the House and the Senate.  If signed into law, this will increase the number of locations a brewpub may own to five.  It will also increase the production limit from 5,000 barrels per year to 18,000 barrels per year.

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*This information and thoughts herein are provided by the Liquor Lawyers at Stariha & Brower, PLC.  As always, we remind readers that the materials on this site are provided purely for informational purposes and are not legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed, to be correct, complete, and current. This blog is not intended to be a source of legal advice. Therefore, the reader should not consider this information an invitation for an attorney-client relationship. Readers should always seek the advice of competent counsel.

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