Showdown: Alcohol Distributors Resist Snyder Push For Booze Law Reforms

Chateau De Leelanau winery tasting room in Suttons Bay. It's among small wineries that would benefit from regulatory reforms.

Gov. Rick Snyder thinks it should be easier to make, buy and sell alcoholic beverages in Michigan, Gary Heinlein reports in The Detroit News.

His push for reforms to loosen state control over booze, beer and wine doesn't sit well with big wholesalers.

Dozens of outdated rules would be scrapped or revised under legislation that also gives small wineries, microbreweries and distilleries more freedom to bring their blends directly to customers. . . .

But a fight is brewing over the plan in Lansing, where the powerful lobby of beer and wine wholesalers is leery of changing a system that divvies up the state into exclusive distribution regions for alcoholic beverages. The wholesalers find themselves allied with temperance groups worried about the social consequences of increased access to alcohol.

Heinlein writes that proposed changes face:

  • Allowing small wineries to offer tasting and sell their creations at farmers' markets through special permits.
  • Letting microbreweries making up to 30,000 barrels of beer a year sell to wholesalers, to retailers and directly to customers in limited amounts.
  • Permitting smaller distilleries to sell limited amounts of their liquor directly to bars, stores or restaurants.
Read more:  The Detroit News

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